Ex-South Korean leader Park Geun-hye gets 24 years in prison

Saul Bowman
April 7, 2018

The scandal that led to the jailing of former South Korean president Park Geun Hye for 24 years on Friday (April 6) came to light in September 2016, when thousands of students at Seoul's prestigious Ehwa University staged a protest against the manipulation of the academic records of a student.

In addition, Park was found guilty of leaking confidential presidential documents to Choi.

Park was also convicted of the charges related to her government's creation and management of an artist blacklist deemed critical of her government.

Park's lawyer, Kang Cheol-gu, called the 24-year prison term "very bad" and said the legal team will decide whether to appeal after confirming her willingness.

Park, who was removed out of office in March a year ago over an influence-peddling scandal involving her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil, was convicted of 16 corruption counts that include bribery, abuse of power and coercion.

Media reports indicate that they refused to appear because the court had chosen to broadcast the judgment live, the first time such would happen in South Korea.

She was accused of colluding to pressure companies into donating 7.4 billion won ($72.3 million) to foundations controlled by her close associate Choi Soon-sil, and taking bribes from businesses in return for government support.

"We can not help but sternly hold her accountable".

Impeached and removed from office Park is the third former South Korean leader to stand trial for corruption.

South Korea's first female president, and the daughter of former dictator Park Chung-hee, Park Geun-hye was arrested in March 2017 shortly after she was stripped of her office by the country's Constitutional Court, which upheld a parliamentary vote to impeach her.

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

Apparently this was as a result of a scandal that exposed webs of corruption between political leaders and the country bigwigs.

"It's against fairness and justice if Park is to be released only serving her jail terms for two years while the people who colluded with still in prison", said Park of Minbyun.

Numerous charges stemmed from Park's association with her longtime friend and adviser Choi Soon-sil, who was sentenced to 20 years for corruption and influence peddling in February.

"We will not forget today", the office said.

"History that is not remembered is said to repeat itself", the statement read.

Chun Sang-chin, sociology professor at Seoul's Sogang University, said the verdict could also spell bad news for Park's immediate predecessor Lee Myung-bak, who is in custody as prosecutors investigate multiple corruption charges involving him and his relatives.

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