National Assembly refuses to consent to arrest of DP lawmaker Noh

SEOUL– The National Assembly on Wednesday voted against arresting opposition lawmaker Noh Woong-rae on bribery charges.

The motion fell through in an anonymous vote of 161-101, with nine abstentions, in the Assembly where Noh’s main opposition Democratic Party (DP) holds a majority.

The four-time lawmaker has been under prosecution investigation on charges of receiving a total of 60 million won (US$47,281) before and after the 2020 parliamentary election from a businessperson in return for providing business favors.
The alleged bribe is suspected to have been used for Noh’s election campaign, according to prosecutors.

Noh has flatly denied the allegations.

According to law, sitting lawmakers are immune from arrest while parliament is in session. The prosecution must obtain parliament’s consent to detain lawmakers.

“We regret that the motion was rejected even though there is a clear reason for arresting him because it is a case of a lawmaker who used his position to receive money and valuables,” the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office said in a statement shortly after the motion was rejected.

Noh also issued a statement, saying he hopes the prosecutors’ “wrong” practice of unconditionally seeking arrest of an opposition politician will be put to an end. He also said he will continue to cooperate with the probe.

Noh is the fourth lawmaker to face arrest during the current National Assembly that kicked off in May 2020.

Parliament consented to the arrest of DP Rep. Jeong Jeong-soon, independent lawmaker Lee Sang-jik and ruling People Power Party Rep. Jung Chan-min in the three previous cases.

Jeong and Lee lost their parliamentary seats.

A lawmaker loses his or her seat if given a confirmed prison term or a fine of more than 1 million won for violating the election and political fund laws. The same applies when a lawmaker gets a finalized prison or a suspended prison term in a criminal case.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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