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Damage suit by citizens against Park dismissed

Dec 14,2019
A local court on Friday dismissed a second damage suit filed against former President Park Geun-hye by hundreds of ordinary citizens who claim to have suffered mental distress caused by Park’s abuse of power and corruption scandal.

The Seoul Southern District Court rejected the damage suit launched in June 2017 by about 340 citizens, who demanded a combined compensation of about 150 million won ($128,000), or 500,000 won per person, insisting that they suffered mental pain and damages due to Park’s abuse of power and corruption scandal.

The plaintiffs alleged that Park inflicted enormous scars on the public by violating the constitution and laws using her presidency.

But Park’s lawyers criticized the damage suit as political maneuvering, saying specific victims were not identified and the former president should not be held liable for her acts of power. It was the second civil action brought against the disgraced former leader.

In May, the Seoul Central District Court dismissed a damage suit filed by about 4,100 citizens, who asked for compensation of 2 billion won, or 500,000 won per plaintiff, against Park for the same reasons. The court said that there are not sufficient grounds to hold Park civilly liable for her scandal, separately from her criminal punishment.

Lawyer Kwak Sang-eon, the son-in-law of former President Roh Moo-hyun, who represented the plaintiffs in the two civil action suits against Park, said he will appeal the second case to the higher court. The first civil action dismissed in May has already been appealed to the Seoul High Court, Kwak said.

Following her ouster from the presidency in 2017, Park was convicted of power abuse and various corruption charges.

She is now serving a total of 32 years in prison for bribery, abuse of power, election law violations and other charges.

Yonhap