A pop artist identified only by his surname Lee on Wednesday was cleared from charges over drawing satirical posters of Park Geun-hye and former candidates of opposing parties ahead of the 2012 presidential election.
Lee produced 200 posters for display in downtown Busan, illustrating former president Park Chung-hee as Snow White with President Park holding an apple in her hand. He also made a poster featuring a face that was half Moon Jae-in, half Ahn Cheol-soo, spreading it in Gwangju in November in the same year.
“The poster of President Park could even be interpreted as a favorable gesture considering artworks have multiple meanings. It is unlikely he intended to affect election results in reflection of his past records of illustrating political caricatures,” the Justice Department said.
In his final testimony, Lee said he did not deserve punishment because he merely did his job as an artist without political intentions.
Initially suspected of violating the Public Official Election Act, the jury ruled in favor of Lee in a civic participation trial in the Seoul Central District Court. The Justice Department supported the ruling that there was no explicit slander or support for a particular candidate in the posters.
By Yoon Ha-youn, Intern reporter