Yoon likely to grant special pardon to ex-defense minister

President Yoon Suk Yeol is strongly considering granting a special pardon to former Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin on the occasion of Lunar New Year's Day next week, a ruling bloc official said Friday. Kim, who served as defense minister from 2010 to 2014 under two different administrations, was convicted of ordering the military cyber command to post online comments in favor of the then conservative government around the general and presidential elections in 2012, among other charges. Last August, the Seoul High Court sentenced him to two years in prison after the Supreme Court partially acquitted him of the charges and sent the case back to the Seoul High Court. The ruling bloc official said Kim -- vice chairman of the presidential defense innovation committee -- has been included on the list of beneficiaries of the special presidential pardons to be granted around Lunar New Year's Day, which this year falls on Feb. 10. A senior presidential official, however, said no final decision has been made yet. In South Korea, the government has often granted special pardons to convicted politicians, business executives and other offenders at the start of a new year or around Aug. 15 Liberation Day to reward good behavior and foster national harmony. The pardons are reviewed by a panel at the justice ministry before being sent to a Cabinet meeting for deliberation and then finalized by the president. Source: Yonhap News Agency