Can an impeached conservative president go to prison? Ask South Korea’s Park Geun-Hye

Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, January 29, 2021

As the impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate of former President Donald J Trump looms, his 75 million voters are wondering why contesting the 2020 election is an impeachable offense. After all the ruling Democrat Party continues to contest Trump’s 2016 election with all legal (and/or extralegal) means available.

Howver, as an in-depth report on the 2016 impeachment and imprisonment of South Korea’s former conservative President Park Geun-Hye makes clear, justice in 21st century “western” democracies is not necessarily a logical or rational process. Following are excerpts from an analysis for East Asia Research Center by Tara O on Jan. 18:

Former South Korean President Park Geun-Hye.

The total sentencing for Park Geun-Hye is finalized at 22 years imprisonment, a fine of ₩18,000,000,000 ($16.3 million) and an additional fee of ₩3,500,000,000 ($3.2 million). She must pay both the fine and the additional fee totaling ₩21,500,000,000 ($19.5 million) in 30 days or face 3 years of forced labor. Park’s total assets are ₩2,239,750,000 ($2 million), most of which is the value of her house in Seoul, which is ₩1,980,000,000 ($1.8 million).

Park Geun-Hye stopped participating in the court proceedings starting October 2017, after stating she realized that South Korea’s justice system was unjust. Prosecutors then appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court in order to increase the punishment.

After 3 years and 9 months, Park’s trial, which began on April 2017, finally came to an end. This is also 4 years and 3 months after the “gukjeong nongdan” smear, which was propelled by JTBC’s fabricated “table PC” story in October 2016.

Gukjeong nongdan is based on a newly created word combination that in late 2016 became to mean that Choi Seo-won, a friend of Park, was interfering and running the state of affairs, rather than Park.

JTBC showed a tablet, asserting that Choi’s routine included walking around “with the tablet PC and fix Park’s speeches” on it, and asserted that was evidence that Choi was a “biseon silse” (a legendary flying wizard wielding actual power), who was running the country.

If one asks a typical Korean why Park was impeached, the answer is likely gukjeong nongdan, not bribery or corruption as often repeated in the western press. It turned out that the speech and other files were loaded onto the tablet on the date JTBC “found” the tablet, and there was no evidence that the tablet belonged to Choi, according to the government’s own forensic report.

Years later, evidence showed that the tablet belonged to a completely different person. The Moon government did not want this information to surface, even jailing journalists in the process. Not only was there no proof of gukjeong nongdan, but nowhere in the legal codes does it state that gukjeong nongdan is an impeachable offense. Park, however, was impeached anyway.

Related: Allegations of fraud in South Korean elections called warning on new voting technologies, May 8, 2020

Shortly after the impeachment, the prosecution charged Park Geun-Hye with various crimes, and one case had become known as the “gukjeng nongdan” case. This is the “bribery” case for Samsung providing access to horses for the national equestrian team, where an athlete was Chung Yoo-ra, a gold medal winner at the 2014 Asian Games, who happens to be the daughter of Choi Seo-Won.

Of note, numerous other companies sponsored national athletes by providing financial and other assistance. The prosecutors and the judges deemed that the access to the horses by Chung Yoo-Ra was the same as Park Geun-Hye receiving it, because Chung’s mother was Park’s friend. This unbelievable “guilty by association” was the justification used not in North Korea, but in South Korea to find Park guilty of bribery and the court meted out sentences.

Another way the courts found Park “guilty” was that Samsung, by providing access to horses (Samsung still owned the horses) to equestrians, there was “implied request.”
This “implied request,” which also by definition means there is no evidence, also found Samsung’s Vice Chairman Lee Jae-Yong guilty and he was jailed for 1 year. While it went all the way up to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court returned the case to the lower court. On Jan. 18, 2021, the judge sentenced Lee Jae-Yong to 2 years 6 months of imprisonment and jailed him right away.

The South Korean media also refer to this case involving Lee Jae-Yong also “gukjeong nongdan” case. What this linkage shows is that both are politically motivated trials, and finding one guilty means the other must also be found guilty.

With the Supreme Court rejecting the prosecutor’s appeal to increase punishment beyond what was decided at the appellate court, President Park Geun-Hye’s final sentencing for the gukjeong nongdan case is 20 years in jail despite having no evidence.

The full report with supporting documentation is here.

Following are social media comments to a YouTube interview about the sentencing of former President Park Geun-Hye:

“Park Geun-Hye is innocent”

“How can people be so cruel and false?”

“Forced labor? Is this North Korea??????? It’s just crazy!!!!!!”

“They’re not even crimes. Why are the fines/fees so high? They’re (the court) like thieves.”

“No matter how scared they are of the power that be, does it make sense that one punishes someone who didn’t even take any bribes? So many judges and prosecutors are filthy and despicable. Is there anybody who can do the right thing during the tribulation?”

“The reason the country is in such a sad state is because the opportunist traitors, who are posing as conservatives, offered up the presidency/power to the Left.

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