Ex-S.Korean President guilty of abusing power

Saul Franklin
April 7, 2018

Former president of South Korea Park Geun-Hye was sentenced to 24 years in jail on Friday, April 6, for abusing power and coercion.

Park, who was removed out of office in March previous year 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. She has also been ordered to pay a fine of $17 million (Sh1.7billion). Choi is serving a 20-year prison term; Samsung scion Lee Jae-yong was initially sentenced to five years in prison before his sentence was suspended on appeal; and Lotte chairman Shin Dong-bin was given 2½ years in prison.

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.

She has consistently denied wrongdoing. She has boycotted the proceedings since October. Numerous supporters of Park's gathered outside the court before the sentencing, waving both South Korean and American flags, to protest against her prosecution.

Park was the first democratically-elected president of South Korea to be removed from office outside the electoral process and has been in detention since 2017 after her arrest. She was indicted the following month.

"A lawyer of the former president has called her sentence very bad" and hinted that she would appeal. "She has to take heavy responsibility to make sure a president of the country does not abuse his or her power again".

Moon's office said Park's fate was "heartbreaking" not only for herself but for the country, and added that history that was not remembered history would be repeated.

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The officer performed a traffic stop on the vehicle, and the driver of vehicle was detained without incident, police said. The suspect ran into the backyard of a home on Irvington Drive and the vehicle continued until it hit a fence.

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.

Park and Choi were childhood friends and Choi swiftly became the leader's most trusted confidante.

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. She was arrested weeks later.

Her predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, who held the presidential office from 2008 to 2013, is also now in detention as he is suspected of multiple corruption charges.

"It's an act of arrogance for Park not to be present in a series of trials, which is clearly an act to disregard the people of the Republic of Korea".

Younger, liberal voters, who staged months of protests against Park before her ouster, will be hoping the verdict will be a watershed in efforts by the new government to end the self-serving collusion between political leaders and the powerful conglomerates known as chaebol.

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