Disgraced Sex-Slaves Activist Given Suspended Sentence

  • By Yang Eun-kyoung

    September 21, 2023 13:19

    Yoon Mee-hyang speaks to reporters as she leaves the Seoul High Court on Wednesday. /News1
    An appellate court on Monday gave Yoon Mee-hyang, the former head of a charity for victims of wartime sex slavery, a three-year suspended sentence for embezzling money from donations. 
    As a convicted criminal, Yoon stands to lose her seat in the National Assembly once she has exhausted her options by appealing to the Supreme Court.
    An independent lawmaker since her expulsion from the Minjoo Party over the fraud scandal in 2021, Yoon was found guilty of embezzling W80 million. A lower court had only found her guilty of misappropriating W17 million and fined her W15 million (US$1=W1,330). 
    Yoon was indicted in September 2020, but it took two years and five months before the lower court arrived at its ruling in February this year and another seven months before Wednesday's ruling.
    If her appeal to the Supreme Court drags on again, she could serve her entire four-year term as a lawmaker which ends in April next year. 
    Seoul High Court Judge Ma Yong-joo said, "Despite knowing that donations or government subsidies should be managed carefully and used for their intended purposes, she betrayed expectations and committed embezzlement." 
    But Yoon continues to deny the charges, telling reporters after the verdict, "I did not embezzle money and I cannot accept the ruling. I will appeal to the Supreme Court."  
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