Source: News Bharati English22 Jan 2017 13:29:51

Seoul, January 22: The South Korean minister of culture Cho Yoon-sun and her former top presidential adviser Kim Ki-choon was arrested on Saturday over the allegations that they blacklisted 10,000 artists who voiced criticism of impeached President Park Geun-hye.
The arrests of Cho and Kim came as the Seoul Central District Court approved prosecutors' request to arrest them for alleged abuse of power and other charges. Notably, Cho Yoon-sun is the first minister in active service arrested in South Korea. Shortly after her arrest, Cho tendered her resignation, which was immediately accepted by Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn.

The Seoul Central District Court said it issued a warrant to arrest Cho on charges of abuse of authority and perjury, following a request from prosecutors. The court also ordered an arrest warrant for Kim Ki-choon, a powerful former chief of staff for Park. Kim is accused of ordering Cho to create the list of "left-leaning" artists.

Importantly, former top intelligence official kim came under highlight for his alleged involvement in human rights abuses committed under Park's father. "Charges are verified and there are risks of the accused seeking to destroy evidence," a court judge said in a statement issuing the warrants for Cho and Kim.

Interestingly, the blacklist allegation surfaced as authorities widened their investigations into the explosive political scandal that led to Park's impeachment in Parliament last month. The Constitutional Court is holding a trial before ruling on whether to formally end Park's presidency or restore her authority. The scandal has seen a number of former senior officials and presidential aides arrested.

Earlier, Park has also faced criticism that she tried to curb free speech and labor rights as president. Her government's alleged backlist reportedly included "Oldboy" film director Park Chan-wook and poet Ko Un, who is often considered a contender for the Nobel prize in literature.

Interestingly, President Park has been accused by legal authorities of putting pressure on the entertainment industry for her criticism. The allegations have also evoked bad memories of the oppression suffered when Park's late father, Park Chung-hee, ruled the country.