South Korea's former president Park jailed for 24 years for corruption

Former Pres. Park Geun-hye Won't Appear in Trial to be Broadcast Live

A South Korean court has found former President Park Geun-hye guilty on multiple counts of abuse of power, bribery and coercion and sentenced her to 24 years in prison.

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. It ordered a fine of about 16.8 million dollars.

In an unprecedented move, the South Korean authorities permitted live broadcast of Friday's verdict.

Ms Park's ten month trial, most of which she boycotted, revealed lurid details of a shady nexus between business and political elites.

Thousands of Park's loyal supporters took to the streets near the Seoul Central District Court on Friday to protest against the courts' decision.

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When Park defiantly stayed in office, lawmakers impeached her in December 2016 and a court removed her in March of a year ago. It also acknowledged 7 billion won as kickbacks provided by retail giant Lotte to Choi's nonprofit foundation.

Surprising enough, Moon's office said Park's fate was disheartening not only for herself but the nation.

A lawyer of ex-South Korean President Park Geun-hye has called her sentence of 24 years in prison over corruption "very bad" and hinted that she would appeal.

The former president's prison sentence is four years longer than that of Choi Soon Sil, who was sentenced with 20 years in prison.

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. That feeling has only grown with the arrest of Park's predecessor on unrelated corruption charges.

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The scandal led to parliamentary impeachment of Park in December 2016.

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

"The rule of law in this country is dead today", said one pro-Park demonstrator.

It is noteworthy that hye's predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, who ruled from 2008 to 2013, is also now in detention on allegations of multiple corruption charges but unlike Park, he finished his presidential term and was arrested in the wake of the latest scandal in March, 2018.

Kim Yong-sam, president from 1993-1998, managed to ruin the South Korean economy, and he left office with an absolutely abysmal approval rating. He was sentenced to death but released after two years under a presidential pardon. An arrest warrant was issued for Park shortly after she was removed from office.

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Younger, liberal voters, who staged months of protests against Park before her ouster, will be hoping the verdict will mark a major step towards ending the self-serving collusion between political leaders and the chaebol conglomerates.

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