Monday, 22 October, 2018

Former S Korea President Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison

JUST IN: Ex-president sentenced to 24 years in Jail Ousted South Korean president Park Geun-hye given 24yrs in jail over corruption
| 07 April, 2018, 01:02

A South Korean court jailed former President Park Geun-hye for 24 years on Friday over a scandal that exposed webs of corruption between political leaders and the country's conglomerates.

During her first trial that was televised live on April 6, the Seoul Central District Court sentenced Park Geun Hye to 24 years in prison and a fine of 18 billion won (approximately $16.9 million).

Prosecutors sought a 30-year sentence and a 118.5 billion won ($112 million) fine for Park, after indicting her on charges that included bribery, abuse of power and coercion.

The former president has been held at a detention center near Seoul since she was arrested in March 2017.

"Despite all these crimes, the accused denied all the charges against her, displayed no remorse and showed an incomprehensible attitude by blaming Choi and other. officials", Kim said, referring to Park's secret confidante and long-time friend Choi Soon-sil.

Park was removed from office a year ago following months of massive rallies that saw millions take to the streets calling for her ouster. There is some residual sympathy for Park among her core supporters, who have always seen her as a heroically tragic figure who devoted her life to the service of her country despite childhood tragedy.

According to the reports, Choi, who, had no government experience but was branded in a USA diplomatic cable as having "complete control over Park's body and soul during her formative years".

Park, the daughter of assassinated dictator Park Chung-hee, faced a total of 18 charges but was absent in court, however, her flag-waving supporters gathered outside.

Park objected it citing the violation of the innocence presumption, but the court said it allowed the live broadcating due to the trial's significance, historical meaning and people's right to know.

Choi was tried separately by the same court and, in February, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.


Although the term was reduced to a suspended sentence on appeal, Lee - son of Samsung group boss Lee Kun-hee - spent nearly a year in jail.

The conviction, which she can appeal, is the latest hit in a dramatic fall for South Korea's first female president.

But their relationship latterly came under intense public scrutiny and the charge is that Choi had undue influence over a nation's affairs through her connection with Park.

Her predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, is also being investigated for corruption.

But South Koreans are divided on the verdict.

Kang Chul-koo, one of Park's state-appointed lawyers, said he would discuss with her the possibility of an appeal. Kim's wife also received a prison term for bribing one of Park's top aides in return for business favours.

Park has previously insisted that she only got help from Choi on public relations and to edit some presidential speeches. An arrest warrant was issued for Park shortly after she was removed from office.

In a presidential by-election triggered by Park's early exit, Moon won an easy victory against wounded conservatives.

Chun's successor, Roh Tae-woo, was also convicted of treason, mutiny and corruption in 1996 and jailed for more than 22 years but served just over two years before being released. Lee's liberal successor Roh Moo-hyum jumped to his death in 2009, amid a corruption investigation of his family. Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung, both former opposition leaders who fought against the dictatorships of Park Chung-hee and Chun, left office in disgrace after their sons and close associates were arrested or embroiled in scandals.

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