Ex-South Korean President to be released under presidential pardon

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The government said the decision was made in consideration of her deteriorating health and as part of efforts to promote national unity…reports Asian Lite News.

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye will be released on Thursday night under a presidential pardon, after four years and nine months of imprisonment following her impeachment and ouster from office for corruption.

The 69-year-old ousted leader has been serving a combined 22-year prison sentence since March 2017 after being impeached and removed from office over far-reaching corruption and an influence-peddling scandal involving a close friend accused of manipulating her, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Last week, President Moon Jae-in decided to pardon Park as part of his special amnesty for the new year.

The government said the decision was made in consideration of her deteriorating health and as part of efforts to promote national unity.

Park has been receiving treatment at a Seoul hospital for a series of back, shoulder and other ailments. She is scheduled to receive a certificate of pardon at the hospital on Friday and is expected to remain there until early February.

She is eligible for government security protection but is not subject to other former presidential privileges, such as the provision of special pensions for retired presidents and personal secretaries, due to her conviction.

Where she will stay after leaving the hospital remains unclear for now, as Park’s private home in southern Seoul was auctioned off as part of her forfeiture.

The amnesty for Park, the eldest daughter of former authoritarian President Park Chung-hee, is expected to have a significant impact on the upcoming presidential election in March, as she has commanded strong support of voters in Daegu and North Gyeongsang province, a stronghold of the main opposition People Power Party.

Her supporters are expected to hold rallies near the hospital in southern Seoul to celebrate her release.

A number of standing flower wreaths with messages wishing her good health have already lined a street near the hospital.

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