Ousted South Korean President Sentenced To Two Dozen Years In Prison

Ousted South Korean President Sentenced To Two Dozen Years In Prison

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye was formally convicted of an array of corruption charges and sentenced to 24 years in prison on Friday, a year after she was driven from office and arrested over a scandal that saw months of massive street rallies calling for her ouster.

Park Geun-hye, the first woman to be elected as President of South Korea was declared guilty of multiple counts of abuse of power, bribery, and coercion by Seoul Central District Court. Park was also fined almost $17 million. Chun was executed, and Roh was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.

The court agreed that Park planned an elaborate extortion scheme with a confidant, Choi Soon-sil.

Media reports say that Choi's father was a cult leader and allegedly used his ties with Park to take bribes from government officials and businessmen. 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.

According to The Guardian, the former president was sentenced on Friday, April 6, although she was not present at the ruling citing sickness.

She had also denied all wrongdoing.

Park has maintained her innocence.

The disgraceful downfall of the country's first female president is an end with which many former South Korean presidents are very familiar.

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The scandal "exposed what has always been widely suspected in South Korea: the entangled web of government and sprawling business conglomerates that dominate the country's economy", say The Guardian.

Park was South Korea's first female head of state and the first elected leader to be ousted when she was impeached previous year. She has one week to appeal the verdict. The 49-year-old billionaire was found guilty of bribery and other corruption charges last year and sentenced to five years in prison, but in February a higher court reduced his sentence and suspended it for four years. Older, conservative South Koreans, who remembered the dictatorship of Park's father fondly as a period of strength for the country, were her electoral base and a common sight throughout the impeachment process.

Park's supporters - mainly older conservative voters - have staged street demonstrations nearly every weekend to protest against her impeachment and imprisonment.

President Moon Jae-in came to office previous year on a drive to wipe out what he calls "deep-rooted evil" across society. She was formally removed from office by the Constitutional Court on March 10, 2017. She was charged and detained soon after her dismissal from office.

As the first daughter of Park Chung-hee, who ruled the country from 1963 until his assassination in 1979, her name is divisive in South Korea.

Her predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, was arrested last month on a raft of corruption allegations, including bribery, embezzlement and tax evasion.

South Korean presidents have an inglorious record when it comes to corruption and prison time.

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