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The former Korean Air executive who was jailed after going into a rage over the way she was served nuts while waiting to take off at New York’s JFK airport has been released from jail.
Cho Hyun-ah, the daughter of the Korean Air chairman, was freed on appeal by the Seoul High Court on Friday.
She had served five months of a year’s jail sentence after ordering the Korean Air flight to abandon its take-off and return to the terminal when a first-class cabin attendant served her macadamia nuts in a bag instead of on a plate. Cho also ordered the attendant removed from the flight.
The Seoul High Court found her guilty of violence against flight attendants but reduced her sentence to 10 months in prison, suspending the term for two years.
The court ruled Cho not guilty of violating aviation security rules or interfering with a government investigation.
The head of the judges’ panel, Kim Sang-hwan, said Cho should be given a second chance. The judge said: “It appears she will have to live under heavy criticism and stigma.”
Prosecutors had sought a three-year jail term for Cho.
The business paper the Financial Times reported criticism of the verdict in Korea, quoting a professor Chin Joong-kwon of Dongjang University who said: “You get a suspended sentence when you have money.”
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