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Chairman Moon’s Large-Scale Pardon Proposal to Raise Controversy

Chairman Moon’s Large-Scale Pardon Proposal to Raise Controversy

Posted July. 11, 2005 03:20,   


Uri Party Chairman Moon Hee-sang’s proposal for a large scale pardon for August 15 Independence Day to President Roh Moo-hyun is gaining attention on both its subject and scale.

At a July 10 press conference, Chairman Moon said, “The 60th anniversary of independence is a sexagenarian, which holds a great significance in Eastern culture,” expecting the largest ever pardoning in the history of Korean constitution.

In relation, a key Uri Party official said, “We are pursuing a large scale pardon surpassing that of March 13, 1998. However, we need the review of the Presidential Chief Civil Secretariat and the Ministry of Justice, so as yet it is difficult to affirm the results.”

In the March 13 pardon, 5.52 million were pardoned, including 5.32 million who had penalty points for inebriated driving and speeding and as result of the pardon had their administrative punishment cancelled.

As for those subject to pardoning, Chairman Moon clearly stated the principle of including politicians. The Uri Party set guidelines to free politicians related to the 2002 illegal presidential campaign funds case, but excluding politicians that violated election laws during the 2004 general elections.

Regarding those in connection to the illegal presidential campaign funds, in the case of the ruling party, former lawmakers Chung Dae-chul, Lee Sang-soo, Lee Jae-jung, and the president’s very close associate Ahn Hee-jung, have been referred as subject to pardon. Former lawmaker Seo Chung-won, Kim Young-il, Choi Dong-woong, and lawyer Seo Jung-woo, all from the opposition party, are also being discussed as subject to pardoning.

Most of them are already free on probation, parole, or suspended sentences, so it is predicted that controversy over “overlooking pardons” will arise.

On the question of pardoning financial and livelihood criminals, Uri Party Policy Chief Park Byung-seok said, “About 140,000 businessmen from Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) that violated illegal check regulation laws and environmental preservation acts, as well as labor and livelihood criminals, and violators of administrative laws will be included.”

In-Jik Cho cij1999@donga.com