South Korea’s current president Moon Jae-in will pardon his predecessor, Park Geun-hye, at the end of this month. He announced this on Friday, according to international news agencies. At the beginning of this year, the Korean Supreme Court upheld another 20 years in prison for Park Geun-hye, a political opponent of Moon Jae-in, for corruption.
Moon says he is releasing Park because of her health problems and because he wants to ensure that the country does not get stuck in old rivalries in this difficult corona time. “It’s time to boldly join all our forces for the future, instead of fighting each other while dealing with the past,” Moon said. Critics say the president is using the release of his major rival to divide the opposition ahead of next March’s presidential election.
Park, daughter of assassinated dictator Park Chung-hee, was impeached in 2017 after a corruption scandal that sparked large-scale demonstrations. She would have taken millions in bribes, among other things. Conservative Park, who came to power in 2012, was South Korea’s first female president.
The South Korean CEO of tech giant Samsung, Lee Jae-yong, was also released early in August. Lee was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for being one of those who allegedly bribed former President Park.
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