Court upholds jail sentence for ex-president of South Korea | Free press

The corruption scandal surrounding former South Korean President Park Geun Hye had deeply shaken the country. Park was sentenced to a lengthy prison term, but the trial has been retried. Now the process comes to an end.

Seoul (dpa) – Six months after former South Korean President Park Geun Hye was sentenced to 20 years in prison for corruption and other crimes, the verdict is final.

The country’s Supreme Court said Thursday that it dismissed the prosecution’s appeal against the verdict in the resumed case against Park last July. The court also upheld a fine of 18 billion won (€ 13.5 million). With the current judgment, the specific lawsuit against the 68-year-old Park has been concluded.

The conservative politician became embroiled in a huge scandal during her administration that shook the country deeply and sparked months of street protests. In March 2017, this led to her dismissal by the Constitutional Court. Park was later arrested and charged with abuse of power, corruption, coercion and other charges.

She was initially sentenced to 24 years in prison, which was increased by one year in August 2018. Park dismissed the allegations and had stayed away from the hearing since October 2017.

In a separate trial for abuse of office, the former head of state was also sentenced to five years in prison. She allegedly accepted large amounts of money from the secret service illegally. Both procedures were brought together during the renegotiation last year. The Seoul Supreme Court had previously dismissed the case due to procedural errors.

In total, the sentences for Park now add up to 22 years. She was sentenced to a further two years in prison for violating electoral laws.

The South Koreans chose the daughter of former military dictator Park Chung Hee as the country’s first wife in late 2012. Park’s successor in the presidency is the social liberal Moon Jae In.

Park’s predecessor Lee Myung Bak (2008-2013) is also serving a long prison sentence for corruption. Last October, the Supreme Court upheld a 17-year sentence.

Recently, the ruling Democratic Party raised the possibility of pardons for both ex-heads of state. President Moon had made no public statements about it. A pardon for the two is controversial among the population.

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