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Appeals court metes out harsher punishment to 2 ex-Park aides over artist blacklist

All Headlines 11:37 January 23, 2018

SEOUL, Jan. 23 (Yonhap) -- An appellate court handed down prison terms for two former senior aides to ousted President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday for keeping a secret register of artists deemed critical of her government to disadvantage them in various ways.

The Seoul High Court raised the sentence for former chief of staff Kim Ki-choon to four years in jail. He was given three years in the lower court.

The appeals court reversed the lower court's suspended sentence for Cho Yoon-sun, a former culture minister and presidential secretary for political affairs, and meted out a two-year imprisonment, finding her guilty of involvement in the process of creating and managing the list.

Cho was immediately taken into custody following the court ruling. She had been in presentencing jail since February last year and was released in July after receiving the suspended term.

The court also found former President Park Geun-hye involved in the making of the blacklist, recognizing her as an accomplice in the case.

Kim and Cho were indicted in February 2017 on charges of abuse of power and perjury. They are accused of masterminding the creation of a list of nearly 10,000 artists, writers and filmmakers deemed unfriendly to the then conservative administration. Those on the list were denied state subsidies or removed from their jobs in the mainstream media.

Seoul Central District Court put Kim behind bars for three years. But it released Cho on a one-year prison term suspended for two years, only convicting her of perjury.

Kim was in office from mid-2013 to early 2015. Cho served as the presidential secretary for political affairs from June 2014 for about a year and became the culture minister in September 2016.

This composite photo captures former Chief of Staff Kim Ki-choon (L) and former Culture Minister Cho Yoon-sun appearing at the courthouse for the appeals trial over the artist blacklist on Jan. 23, 2018. (Yonhap)


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