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Former President Park Geun-hye Sentenced to 24 Years of Jail Time

Former president Park Geun-hye, who was ousted from office in 2016, was sentenced to 24 years of jail time and a fine of $17 million by Seoul Central District Court earlier today.

A Brief Timeline

  • In 2013, Park was voted into office as the first ever female president of South Korea.
  • In 2016 after a corruption scandal, involving Park and her close confidant Choi Soon-sil, came to the attention of the media, weeks of demonstrations involving tens of thousands of people ensued in central Seoul outside the Blue House.
  • In December 2016, the National Assembly voted to impeach Park from office on charges of corruption, bribery, and abuse of authority.
  • In March 2017, the impeachment was approved by the South Korean Constitutional Court by a vote of 8-0 and Park was officially ousted from office.
  • On March 31, Park was arrested by prosecutors on criminal charges and taken to a detention center located outside of Seoul.
  • Finally, today around 2:30pm KST, Park was convicted on charges of corruption, abuse of power, and coercion by Seoul Central District Court.

The Trial

During the trial, prosecutors sought a 30-year jail sentence for the ex-president. The court found Park guilty of 16 of the 18 charges brought forward by prosecutors and fined her a hefty sum of $17 million.

Park and her lawyers did not participate in the sentencing trial today, in much the same way that she did not appear in court for most of her hearings this past year. The court allowed the trial to be broadcast live, the first instance of a live trial since a law was passed last year to permit the practice.

A video of Judge Kim Sae-yoon announcing Park’s official sentence and concluding the trial:

Outside the courthouse, hundreds of Park’s supporters were gathered waving Korean and US flags and demanding the former leader’s release. Most of Park’s loyal supporters are older conservative South Koreans who fondly remember Park Geun-hye’s father and former South Korean dictator, Park Chung-hee, as a great leader who guided South Korea into a period of economic strength and prosperity.

Banners hung above Park’s supporters read “Immediately release innocent President Park Geun-hye” and “Stop murderous political revenge,” according to a report by ABC News.

Park is the first president to be effectively impeached from office and the third former president to be arrested on criminal allegations. Park’s predecessor, former president Lee Myung-bak, is also currently facing charges of bribery, abuse of power, embezzlement, and tax evasion.

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