Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye to be pardoned

The South Korean government confirmed today that former President Park Geun-hye, who is currently in prison for corruption, is on a list of people who should be pardoned on the occasion of the New Year. The decision, according to the Government, responds to the deteriorating health of the 69-year-old ex-president. Hours before the decision was announced, an official from the presidential office who requested anonymity had told the Yonhap news agency that Park is "included in a list of people who will receive clemency". Park, 69, has been hospitalized three times this year due to chronic pain in her lower back and the shoulder on which she underwent surgery in 2019. Sentenced to 22 years in prison for being at the center of the so-called plot of the "Rasputin" South Korean, the conservative former head of state has been jailed since 2017 after being removed from office. Many considered it likely that his successor in the presidency, the liberal Moon Jae-in, would grant him pardon as has happened with other former South Korean presidents jailed for corruption, such as the conservatives Roh Tae-woo or Chun Doo-hwan. However, the decision comes just a little over three months before the next presidential elections are held in the Asian country. Some believe Park’s release may help spur Tory candidate Yoon Suk-yeol, who holds a slight lead over liberal Lee Jae-myung, in the polls. The courts considered it proven that Park and her friend and confidant Choi Soon-sil created a network of favors through which they extorted money from large companies such as Samsung, Hyundai or Lotte. The de facto leader of Samsung, Lee Jae-yong, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for the bribes he paid to the network created around the former South Korean president and Choi, but received a pardon last August, A decision that the current government defended, arguing that it benefits the national economy.

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