The latest pardon extended to more than 6,000 people here is only aimed at helping working-class citizens who deserve to be brought back into society and not those with power or money, an official from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Friday.
"The special pardon was designed from the very start to help those convicted of crimes while trying to make a living," the official told reporters while speaking on the condition of anonymity.
"And so, those convicted of disturbing public peace and safety or labor-related crimes have been excluded," the official added.
The remarks came hours after the Justice Ministry announced the list of 6,444 convicts to be pardoned as of Saturday.
Most will be immediately released while those with more than one third of their original jail term left will have their remaining sentence reduced by half, according to the Cheong Wa Dae official.
|Former lawmaker Chung Bong-ju (Yonhap)|
The list came as somewhat a surprise as many had hoped, if not expected, the list to include those close to President Moon Jae-in, such as Lee Kwang-jae, a former lawmaker and governor of Gangwon Province who also worked as a presidential secretary under the late former President Roh Moo-hyun, along with Moon.
The Cheong Wa Dae official said Lee would not have made it onto the list as the president has pledged to exclude anyone convicted of corruption from receiving a special pardon.
Lee was convicted in 2011 of receiving illegal political funds in 2009.
"This time, the government excluded those convicted of election law violations as a basic principle," the Cheong Wa Dae official said.
The list included Chung Bong-ju, a former lawmaker convicted of election law violations for raising false corruption allegations against former President Lee Myung-bak ahead of the 2007 presidential election.
The Cheong Wa Dae official explained Chung was the only politician left not reinstated from convictions from the 2007 election, while all else have been pardoned and thus reinstated through two special pardons under the former Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye administrations. (Yonhap)