Former culture minister to stand appeal trial

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Former culture minister to stand appeal trial

An independent counsel team has decided to bring former Culture Minister Cho Yoo-sun, allegedly involved in the so-called cultural blacklist case, to an appellate court early this week in defiance of the lower court’s “too lenient” ruling on her, a team official said Sunday.

“We plan to submit an appeal [against Cho] as early as Monday,” the official said, “after deliberating on the lower court’s decision.”

On Thursday, the Seoul Central District Court sentenced Kim Ki-choon, the former chief of staff of ousted President Park Geun-hye, to three years in prison for mapping out the controversial list of cultural figures critical of the government in order to exclude them from state subsidies.

However, the court handed down a one-year jail term suspended for two years to the former culture minister under the Park presidency, clearing her of charges of abuse of power in relation to the blacklist but finding her guilty only of perjury at a parliamentary hearing on the nation-rocking corruption scandal that led to Park’s ouster.

The court also sentenced five other former ranking government officials to between 18 months and two years in jail, with some on probation, for their involvement in the blacklist.

Earlier, the team led by Independent Counsel Park Young-soo called for Kim to get seven years in prison and six years for Cho, insisting, “The evil influence they have on the nation and people was so immense.”

The team is also reviewing whether to appeal the lower court’s ruling on other defendants in the case, including Kim, as their punishment is being criticized as too light, the official said.

“We’ve been analyzing the verdict in detail right after it was made,” the official said.

The blacklist is part of the corruption scandal that removed Park from office in March. Kim and Cho were indicted in February for creating the list of nearly 10,000 artists, writers and filmmakers deemed unfriendly to the conservative administration. They were denied state subsidies.

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