Number of presidential pardons will be limited

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Number of presidential pardons will be limited

The first special presidential pardon by the Park Geun-hye administrative is scheduled for next week, though the number of people granted amnesty is expected to be much smaller than in previous years. Unlike unconditional presidential pardons in the past, the guidelines set for next week limit the pardons to people who meet strict criteria.

“Since President Park Geun-hye ordered pardons for only those who committed crimes of survival, the number of those pardoned will be as small as it can be,” an official from the Ministry of Justice said at a meeting of the pardoning committee.

Because this is Park’s first official presidential pardon since taking office, a large number of inmates were expected to be granted clemency. However, after discussions on Wednesday, the ministry concluded that only about 6,000 people qualified for amnesty.

The committee has limited the beneficiaries to those who committed crimes based on their livelihoods. Among businessmen, only owners of small- and mid-size companies that went bankrupt will be considered for release.

Those who were sentenced to more than five years in prison were excluded from consideration. Serious criminals convicted of homicide or sexual assault were also ruled out, as well as those who were sentenced within the last three months. Second-time offenders and those who intentionally committed crimes were set aside, too, allowing only first-time offenders and those who did not purposely set out to commit crimes to qualify.

“This is the first time the president and the justice minister have limited their rights and implemented strict screening guidelines,” said an official on the pardoning committee. “It will be a historic presidential pardoning.”

The Blue House and the ministry are expected to announce their final plan at a cabinet meeting Tuesday.


BY LEE GA-YOUNG [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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