Monday, 23 April, 2018

South Korea's Park Geun-hye gets 24-year jail sentence

Park is expected to learn her fate at the detention centre near Seoul where she has been in custody for almost a year Park is expected to learn her fate at the detention centre near Seoul where she has been in custody for almost a year
Beatrice Douglas | 07 April, 2018, 00:47

Handing down the sentence at Seoul Central District Court, the judge said that Park had "abused the power which was given to her by the citizens".

The two women were also convicted of taking bribes from some of those companies, including more than 7 billion won ($6.5 million) alone from Samsung. Park acknowledges her ties with Choi in a nationally televised speech, but denies breaking the law.

The former president was also found guilty of making companies sign lucrative deals with Choi's firms and donated gifts to her family. She was found guilty of abuse of power, coercion, fraud and bribery.

Former leaders Chun and Roh received presidential pardons after each spent around two years in jail - a privilege that may elude Park for many years, said Jeong Han-wool, an analyst at the Seoul Hankook Research think-tank. The court said she leaked at least 14 state secrets to Choi.

During her father's 18-year rule, Park Geun-hye served as first lady after her mother was killed in an assassination attempt targeting her father in 1974.

The corruption scandal, which first began unraveling the Park presidency in the fall of 2016, ensnared dozens of government officials and businesses.

Surprising enough, Moon's office said Park's fate was disheartening not only for herself but the nation.


The fact that she never married or had children was part of her appeal, given the nepotistic tendencies of many senior officials. Judge Kim Se-yoon said he had passed a tough sentence to "prevent such an unfortunate event from happening again".

"Each person would have had different feelings about former President Park". Park objected to the decision citing the violation of the innocence presumption, but the court said it allowed the live broadcasting for the trial's significance, historical meaning and people's right to know.

She now has seven days in which to file an appeal.

She contested her impeachment but was formally removed from office in March 2017, leading to the special election that seated the current president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in.

Although the 24-year sentence doled out to former president Park Geun-hye was a hefty punishment for deep levels of corruption, dirty dealings in high places are nothing new to South Koreans. Yet that was all undone by the scandal involving a close confidant and bribery, extortion and other allegations.

She has been sentenced to 24 years in prison - effectively a life sentence for the 66-year-old. She became the third South Korean president convicted of crimes. Choi was sentenced to 20 years in prison in February.

On Friday, the verdict was greeted with public displays of outrage and grief by several hundred Park supporters who had gathered outside the courthouse.

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