Rep. Park arrested on electoral law violation
Independent lawmaker Park Joo-sun was put behind bars Tuesday after Judge Lee Chang-han of the Gwangju High Court issued an arrest warrant for him. Park, who attended the court while it was reviewing whether to issue the warrant, was taken to a detention center right away.
The arrest came six days after the National Assembly passed a motion to allow the detention of the Gwangju-based lawmaker. He is currently appealing his conviction for violating the Election Law. Park was sentenced a two-year prison term by a lower court.
“Witnesses of the case have changed their testimony during the investigation and hearings. If Park is not detained, he is likely to urge involved people to alter their stories in an attempt to destroy evidence,” the judge said.
It was expected that the court would review the arrest request, let him return home and make a decision on whether to issue the warrant or not in three to four days. But the court decided just 35 minutes after starting the review.
“It was the lower court that asked the Assembly to pursue his arrest because it found him guilty and sentenced him to two years in prison. The high court hasn’t made a ruling yet, but it acknowledged he may destroy evidence and interfere with due process,” a court official said.
The former Democratic United Party member was indicted for ordering a district office head of his electorate to organize private groups and attract voters for the party’s primary by offering them money in the lead-up to the April’s parliamentary elections.
He also allegedly pre-electioneered by appealing for support from village chiefs of the electorate before official campaigning began. He later left the party.
The illegal electioneering case caused a stir, with a head of a village committing suicide by jumping off a community center building prior to questioning by election commission officials. A total of 29 people have been indicted.