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Former South Korean president Park jailed 24 years for corruption

07 April 2018

South Korea's disgraced former president Park Geun-hye was jailed for 24 years Friday for corruption, completing a dramatic fall from grace for the country's first woman leader who became a figure of public fury and ridicule.

"Park abused her power given by the people of the Republic of Korea, only to breach the freedom that corporates can enjoy in their management", said presiding Judge Kim Se-yoon at Seoul Central District Court.

Park was also ordered to pay a fine of 18 billion won ($17 million). In February, Choi was sentenced to 20 years in prison for enriching herself by using her influence to gain favour.

Citing a lack of evidence, the judges rejected prosecutors' allegations that Park sought bribes from Samsung in return for government help to solidify Jay Y. Lee's control of the conglomerate. But Park, who continues to strongly deny any wrongdoing, has boycotted the court for the last six months and refused to attend today's sentencing.

South Korea's first President Syngman Rhee, from 1948-1960, embraced authoritarianism and clung to power through rigged elections and corruption, critics say.

Park, impeached in December 2016 and formally removed from office in March 2017, was indicted last April on 18 charges of corruption and power abuse.

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Park Geun Hye's lawyer has stated that he will be speaking to Park Geun Hye about filing an appeal, and will announce the decision later on.

She was indicted for corruption and other charges in April previous year.

"Each person would have had different feelings about former President Park".

The court said Park also colluded with senior government officials to blacklist artists critical of her government and passed on presidential documents with sensitive information to Choi via one of her presidential aides.

For many South Koreans, who took to the streets by the hundreds of thousands to oust Park, the case starkly illustrated widespread feelings that the system is stacked against them and that only the rich and well-connected can get ahead.

In a presidential by-election triggered by Park's early exit, Moon won an easy victory against wounded conservatives.

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But her relations with the Choi family have long haunted her political career.

She was arrested shortly afterwards, and has been in detention ever since.

Her predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, is also being investigated for corruption.

Park was removed from office early a year ago following months of protests.

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

Two former presidents were convicted of bribery and treason in 1996, but were both pardoned a year later.

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2006: Park, the leader of the main conservative opposition party, is attacked by a man wielding a box cutter while she was campaigning for upcoming elections.

Former South Korean president Park jailed 24 years for corruption