The Korea Herald


‘Obstruction of justice’: Opposition retracts impeachment vs prosecutor after backlash

By Kim Arin

Published : Nov. 10, 2023 - 17:18

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Democratic Party of Korea leader Rep. Lee Jae-myung arrives at Seoul central district court on Friday. (Yonhap) Democratic Party of Korea leader Rep. Lee Jae-myung arrives at Seoul central district court on Friday. (Yonhap)

The main opposition Democratic Party of Korea on Friday rescinded the impeachment motion targeting a senior incumbent prosecutor overseeing criminal investigations into the party's leader, Rep. Lee Jae-myung.

The retraction came one day after the Democratic Party filed and passed a motion to impeach Prosecutor Lee Jung-seop during Thursday's Assembly plenary session, triggering public backlash. The senior prosecutor has been leading the ongoing investigations into some of the more high-profile corruption scandals surrounding the main opposition chief.

The association of prosecutors called for the impeachment motion’s withdrawal in a statement on Friday, arguing that the Democratic Party move was a “serious threat to the rule of law.”

“Such abuse of parliamentary power undermines prosecutors’ independence and their duties of impartiality and political neutrality,” the statement read.

The ruling People Power Party’s floor leader Rep. Yun Jae-ok said in a meeting Friday that the Democratic Party-led impeachment efforts against the prosecutor in Suwon constituted a “blatant attempt at an obstruction of justice” and a “retaliation” against the investigations into the opposition party’s chief.

Despite facing criticism, the Democratic Party on Friday warned of introducing the impeachment motion against the same prosecutor a second time at the next plenary session of the National Assembly.

The chair of the Democratic Party is accused of illicitly transmitting money to North Korea over the process of trying to organize his trip to Pyongyang while he was the governor of Gyeonggi Province -- a case that is being handled by the prosecution service in Suwon, where the senior prosecutor being threatened with impeachment works.

Among the reasons cited by the Democratic Party for the impeachment against the Suwon prosecutor is that he allegedly changed his address to his brother-in-law’s place with the registration office in order to enroll his daughter into a prestigious elementary school.