South Korean court jails former president Park Geun-hye for 24 years
07 April, 2018, 00:49
South Korea's former president Park Geun-hye was sentenced to 24 years in prison today after being found guilty of multiple counts of abuse of power, bribery and coercion.
The ex-president was also fined 18 billion won (US$16.8 million) - which was just a tenth of the amount requested by the prosecution.
Choi was eventually found guilty of corruption, and sentenced to 20 years in prison earlier this year. Choi had no official title and no security clearance, but saw Park much more frequently than the president's own staff. It said Park was unaware that the money was in return for helping Samsung complete a merger of group firms that was needed for a smooth leadership succession.
Her guilty verdict is expected to drive calls for constitutional reform to limit South Korea's presidential powers, as fellow former leader Lee Myung-bak is now under investigation over a separate scandal.
However, the 66-year-old Park had pleaded not guilty and was not present in court during the ruling. She has boycotted the proceedings since October. The ousted president has not shown up in any court hearing since October a year ago to protest against her extended detention for six more months.
Experts said the verdict was as expected and was in line with other verdicts in one of the biggest corruption scandals to have hit South Korea.
Former President Park Geun-hye arrives at the entrance of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office to undergo prosecution questioning on March 21, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. She was indicted the following month. Park Geun-hye's first reaction to her father's death is reportedly to check on the security status at the border with North Korea, comments that inspire supporters to say she deserves a national leadership role.
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"We see the ruling fit for what Park has committed using her power to violate the rule of the country and its constitutional order", read the statement issued by the DPK.
Samsung's de facto leader Lee Jae-yong, also known as Jay Y Lee, was singled out in particular after details emerged that he had given a horse to Choi's daughter Chung Yoo-ra, who is an equestrian. She quickly becomes a heavyweight in conservative politics. She was charged and detained soon after her dismissal from office.
Moon's office said Park's fate was "heartbreaking" not only for herself but for the country, and added that history that was not remembered history would be repeated.
Weeks of massive anti-Park protests broke out after the media exposes, leading to Park's impeachment by parliament in December 2016.
Two others, Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, were convicted for treason and corruption in the 1990s.
Park's presidential predecessor Lee Myung-bak is now in custody as prosecutors investigate multiple corruption charges involving him and his relatives.
Park and Lee are not the only South Korean leaders to have been sent to prison.
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