Former President Park Geun Hye Receives Sentence Of 24 Years In Prison

Former President Park Geun Hye Receives Sentence Of 24 Years In Prison

Ousted South Korean president Park Geun-hye has been sentenced to 24 years in jail.

Of the 18 charges of corruption and power abuse the prosecution had levied against Park, who did not attend the sentencing, the court found her guilty of 16.

In December 2016, South Korean lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to impeach Park, but she refused to resign offering instead an apology while denying any legal wrongdoing.

Three weeks after her impeachment last March, Park was taken into custody at a detention center outside of Seoul. But yesterday the ruling was greeted with dismay in streets outside the courtroom by several hundred flag-waving Park supporters.

Some sat in tears after the conviction, with others started a protest march. But her presidency was controversial from the start, dogged by admissions that the country's spy agency flooded social media channels in the final days of the presidential election to help her to victory.

This case was the rarest in the history of South Korea where the court made a decision to broadcast the trial live.

Park has maintained her innocence.

Park is the latest former leader of South Korea to run afoul of the law.

Former conservative president Lee Myung-bak, Park's predecessor, was arrested last month on a raft of charges including bribery, embezzlement, tax evasion, abuse of power and breach of trust.

"The main blame. lies with former president Park herself", Kim said. "This is a heartbreaking incident for one person's life as well as for the country as a whole". A history that is not remembered is bound to be repeated. "However, a bleak and dry wind blew across all of us today", said spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.

The leader was, however, conspicuous by her absence at the court since she boycotted the trial accusing to be biased against her. She and Park were accused of extracting bribes or promises of bribes totaling $70 million from conglomerates including Samsung and from big businesses in return for favorable treatment from Park's government.

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Much of the public anger was focused on Park's relationship with Choi and accusations that she let her childhood friend - who held no formal position or security clearance - meddle in state affairs, including high-level appointments and editing official speeches.

Choi was convicted and jailed for 20 years after a separate trial in February.

Park was also found guilty of ordering an aide to leak government secrets to Choi.

Her father was killed five years later and Park withdrew for a while but entered the political scene again in the 1990s after witnessing the effects of Asia's economic crisis.

"Given her attitude and public anger over her scandal that remains raw, it will be hard to create a political environment in favour of her release any time soon", Jeong told AFP.

His supporters hailed him as someone who had rebuilt the country after the Korean War.

"When her crimes came into light one by one, it threw the country into confusion". "I'm married to the Republic of Korea".

Park and Lee are not the only South Korean leaders to have been sent to prison.

Park, the country's first female leader, was also the first democratically-elected president to be impeached.

Park Geun-hye in a file picture.

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