Lee uses double standard in pardon
President Lee Myung-bak is facing criticism for allegedly being unfair in issuing a Liberation Day amnesty on Wednesday.
Lee said Thursday that he has no plan to issue presidential pardons on the day, according to his spokesman.
Presidents here have issued pardons to commemorate important national holidays such as Liberation Day to mark independence from Japanese colonial rule in 1945.
“We don't have any Liberation Day pardons planned this year,” Park Jeong-ha, presidential spokesman, told reporters, Thursday. “There were no Liberation Day pardons last year and we have tried to refrain from exercising the right to pardon too much.”
However, criticism surfaced as Eun Jin-soo, a close aide of Lee and a former Board of Audit and Inspection auditing committee member, was released on parole last month. Eun was behind bars for taking bribes from a Busan-based savings bank while serving as an auditor of the board.
Meanwhile, civic and religious groups have been requesting the pardoning of tenants in Yongsan who were jailed for protesting against the districts’ redevelopment project in 2009 and Chung Bong-ju, former left-wing lawmaker and one of the co-hosts of co-hosts of “Naneun Ggomsuda” or “I Am a Petty-Minded Trickster,” who was sentenced to one year in prison last year for violating the country’s election and defamation laws. He was accused of spreading unconfirmed rumors about the President.
Religious groups earlier filed a petition to Lee for the tenants’ special release.
Following the announcement by the presidential office, supporters of the podcast host are planning to hold a rally at Seoul City Hall on Saturday.
Lee has so far issued presidential pardons six times since taking office in 2008. His predecessor Roh Moo-hyun issued eight. Former presidents Kim Dae-jung and Kim Young-sam issued amnesties nine times each.