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Controversial stem cell scientist sentenced

Disgraced scientist, Hwang Woo-suk, has been found guilty of fraud and received a suspended sentence following a lengthy trial

Disgraced scientist, Hwang Woo-suk, was found guilty by a South Korean court of fraud and handed down a suspended sentence on October 26, following a trial that stretched over more than three years. 

Hwang faced charges of fraud, misusing state funds and violating bioethics laws following allegations by an investigation team at Seoul National University in 2005 that his team fabricated vital data in two papers on human embryonic stem cells published in Science magazine. 

Hwang's team achieved recognition in 2004 when it appeared to make two major breakthroughs by cloning stem cells and tailoring them to a specific patient. The findings raised hopes of generating genetically specific tissue to repair damaged organs or treat diseases such as Alzheimer's, which led to Hwang being hailed as a national hero and receiving accolades such as being named one of the world's 100 most influential people in 2004 by Time magazine. 

In 2006 prosecutors charged him with fraud and embezzlement and sought a four year prison term. A total of 40 court hearings have preceded this final verdict and sentencing.

26th October 2009

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