Seoul: South Korea has pardoned ex-president Park Geun-hye, the justice minister said Friday, in a dramatic reprieve for the disgraced former leader who was jailed for more than 20 years in a sprawling corruption scandal.
She was on a list of people receiving special amnesty and was pardoned from “a perspective of national unity”, Park Beom-kye told reporters.
Park became South Korea’s first woman president in 2013, casting herself in the role of the daughter of the nation, incorruptible and beholden to none.
Less than four years later, she was impeached and ousted after a corruption scandal sparked huge street protests.
The 69-year-old was serving a 20-year prison sentence for bribery and abuse of power, with another two years after that for election law violations.
The corruption scandal exposed shady links between big businesses and politics in South Korea, with Park and her close friend Choi Soon-sil accused of taking bribes from conglomerates, including Samsung Electronics, in exchange for preferential treatment.
The resulting public backlash against Park and her conservative party helped propel the left-leaning Moon Jae-in into power.