South Korean former president sentenced to 24 years in jail for abuse of power

A South Korean judge on Friday said former president Park Geun-hye is guilty of abuse of power and coercion and sentenced her to 24 years in jail.

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The verdict came as a Seoul Central District Court judge read a lengthy statement today. The sentence followed a trial lasting more than 10 months which ended with Park being found guilty on multiple criminal charges, including bribery and abuse of power.

“The amount of bribery the accused received or demanded in collaboration with Choi amounts to more than 23 billion won,” Judge Kim Se-Yoon said, referring to Park’s secret confidante and long-time friend Choi Soon-sil.

“I sentence the accused to 24 years in prison and 18 billion won in fines.”

Park, 66, had boycotted most of the trial in protest at being held in custody. She was not present in court for Friday’s judgement which, in a rare move, was broadcast live on television.

Park had been held at a detention center near Seoul since her arrest in March 2017, but she refused to attend Friday’s court session citing sickness.

Prosecutors had requested a 30-year sentence for Park, after charging her with colluding with a confidante to take tens of millions of dollars from businesses in bribes and extortion.

Park was removed from office early last year following months of massive rallies that saw millions take to the nation’s streets calling for her ouster.

She is a daughter of late dictator Park Chung-hee, who ruled South Korea from 1961-1979.

AP

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