President Yoon Considers Pardon for Former Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin

SEOUL — President Yoon Suk Yeol is contemplating a special pardon for former Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin in light of the upcoming Lunar New Year's Day, signaling potential relief for the embattled ex-official.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Kim Kwan-jin, who led the defense ministry from 2010 to 2014 under two administrations, might receive a pardon next week. Kim was convicted for orchestrating a campaign of online comments supportive of the conservative government during the general and presidential elections in 2012, among other allegations. Last August, the Seoul High Court sentenced him to two years in prison, following a partial acquittal and case remand by the Supreme Court.

The decision to include Kim, now vice chairman of the presidential defense innovation committee, on the list of special presidential pardons for the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 10 this year, reflects a longstanding tradition in South Korea. Special pardons are typically granted at the start of the new year or around August 15, Liberation Day, as a gesture of goodwill and national unity. Although a senior presidential official has indicated that no final decision has been made, the tradition underscores the government's practice of using pardons to promote reconciliation. The process involves a justice ministry panel review, Cabinet deliberation, and presidential approval.

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