Yoon says pardoning ex-President Lee ‘not an issue to talk about now’


South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said Wednesday that a potential pardon for jailed former President Lee Myung-bak “is not an issue to talk about now.”

Yoon made the remark to reporters upon arrival at the presidential office following news reports that Lee filed for a suspension of his sentence and could be included in beneficiaries of a presidential pardon that could be carried out to mark August 15 Liberation Day, Yonhap news agency reported.

“This is not an issue to talk about now,” Yoon said when asked to comment on a pardon for Lee.

The remarks are seen as the president’s intent to distance himself from the increasing discussions on a pardon for Lee within the ruling People Power Party (PPP).

PPP floor leader Kweon Seong-dong said Lee’s pardon is needed to promote “national unity.”

“As I have said multiple times, I believe it is unfair to keep a former president in prison when another has been set free through a pardon,” he said, referring to former President Park Geun-hye pardoned in December.’

The prosecution is scheduled to begin its deliberation on Lee’s application for a suspension of his sentence filed with a district prosecutors office in Anyang, south of Seoul, last week.

The 81-year-old Lee, now serving a 17-year prison sentence for corruption, reportedly filed for a suspension of his sentence, citing health issues, last Friday amid speculation he may be granted a special pardon on the occasion of National Liberation Day, which falls on August 15.

Lee served as president from 2008 to 2013.



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