Ex-President Lee released after six days in prison

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Ex-President Lee released after six days in prison

After six days in prison, former President Lee Myung-bak was released from jail on Tuesday, following an appeal of the ruling that put him in prison.

The Seoul High Court said Tuesday that it has decided to suspend the imprisonment of Lee because the former president filed an appeal against its decision to revoke the bail it had set while Lee was on trial. Lee was released from the Seoul Dongbu Detention Center Tuesday night and put under house arrest.

On Feb. 19, the court found Lee guilty of multiple charges of corruption, embezzlement and bribery and sentenced him to 17 years in prison. The 78-year-old former leader was immediately taken into custody, as the court revoked its bail order that had kept him under house arrest for nearly a year.

Lee, through his lawyers, challenged the court’s decisions. Earlier this week, Kang Hoon, Lee’s lawyer, appealed the former president’s conviction to the Supreme Court and also challenged the high court’s decision to revoke bail.

“When the court canceled the bail, it cited Clause 2 of Article 102 of the Criminal Procedure Act,” Kang said. “It stated that a court may revoke the release on bail if there is ground enough to believe that the defendant is likely to escape or destroy evidence of the crime.

“In the case of Lee, all evidence has been secured already, so the court canceled the bail based on the ground that he is likely to escape,” Kang said. “But a former president is under a 24-hour security escort. He, therefore, cannot flee to another country. Therefore, the court’s decision to revoke the bail is unlawful and his detention must be suspended immediately.”

After Kang’s appeal, the Seoul High Court decided to release him. “There are different opinions on whether he should be kept free or not during his appeal period,” a court official said. “And there is no precedent that we can refer to. The court judged that it is appropriate to suspend his detention until the Supreme Court makes a decision on revoking of the bail.”

While Lee remains on house arrest, the time he spends outside jail will not count as part of his prison sentence.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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