SEOUL, Feb. 9 (Korea Bizwire) – Hundreds of South Korean artists on Thursday filed a compensation suit against President Park Geun-hye and her former aides over allegations her administration blacklisted cultural figures deemed critical of the government, a lawyers association said.
A total of 461 plaintiffs filed the case with the Seoul Central District Court, seeking 1 million won (US$873) each from the government, as well as Park and her former chief of staff Kim Ki-choon and ex-Culture Minister Cho Yoon-sun.
“The blacklist has infringed upon the artists’ personal rights, as well as their freedom of expression and the right to protect their privacy,” the Lawyers for a Democratic Society, which represents the plaintiffs, said in a statement.
Kim and Cho were indicted Tuesday on charges of abuse of authority and coercion for allegedly creating and managing the blacklist to deny those artists state support.
Cho served as the senior presidential secretary for political affairs from 2014 to 2015 and became the culture minister last year. Kim, who served as Park’s top aide from 2013 to 2015, is known to have exerted significant influence on state affairs while in office.
The two have been in custody since last month. Cho, the country’s first incumbent minister to be arrested while in office, resigned shortly after the court issued the arrest warrant.
A total of seven suspects, including the two, have been indicted so far over the blacklist scandal.
The list is known to have nearly 10,000 people on it, including author Han Kang, winner of the Man Booker International Prize in 2016, and director Park Chan-wook, who won the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004.
Park, who is awaiting the Constitutional Court’s decision on her impeachment, has flatly denied the allegations.