Cho Yoon-sun

South Korea Charges Former Culture Minister with Abuse of Power

After her arrest last month, former South Korean culture minister Cho Yoon-sun was formally charged with abuse of power and coercion on Tuesday for creating a blacklist of nearly 10,000 artists who were not granted government support due to their political beliefs and criticisms of now-impeached President Park Geun-hye, AFP reports.

Filmmakers, authors, and painters are among the cultural figures who were put under state surveillance and denied access to state subsidies and private funding. Many had publicly opposed Park’s administration and blamed its failed rescue efforts for the deaths of 300 people who were on the Sewol ferry when it sank in 2014.

Former chief of staff Kim Ki-choon was indicted and two of Park’s former aides were also charged. The impeached president maintains that she had no knowledge of the list, but prosecutors were not convinced and named her as an accomplice.

Park was impeached by parliament in December after she allegedly let confidante Choi Soon-sil handle state affairs including senior nominations. A constitutional court is currently reviewing the case and will soon decide whether to uphold the impeachment.