Former Korean presidential secretaries given suspended prison sentences

Four one-time ranking officials in the government of ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye have been given suspended prison sentences on after being convicted of obstructing an independent panel’s investigation into the cause of the deadly sinking of the Sewol ferry five years ago, killing more than 300 people, mostly high-school students.

The panel was set up in 2015 under a special law enacted to determine why the 6,800-ton ship capsized in waters off the southwest coast of South Korea in 2014. The panel was composed of maritime experts, lawyers and civilians.

Former Presidential Chief of Staff Lee Byung-kee, former Presidential Secretary for Political Affairs Cho Yoon-sun and former Presidential Secretary for Economic Affairs Ahn Jong-beom in June 2017 were charged with hindering the establishment and activities of the Sewol panel. Former Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Kim Young-suk and former Vice Oceans Minister Yoon Hak-bae were indicted in December 2017 on the same charges.

The Seoul Eastern District Court on Tuesday June 25th sentenced Lee and Cho to one year in prison, suspended for two years, and acquitted Ahn of his criminal charge. Kim received a two-year imprisonment, suspended for three years, while Yoon was given a jail term of one and a half years, suspended for two years. t Tabl