South Korea’s disgraced former president Park Geun-hye has been jailed for 24 years for corruption. Today’s sentencing closes out a dramatic fall from grace for the country’s first woman leader who became a figure of public fury and ridicule.
She was found guilty on charges of bribery, coercion and abuse of power, and ordered to pay a fine of 18 billion won (£12 million). Her biggest charge was that she colluded with longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil to take tens of millions of dollars from companies in bribes and extortion. Park was removed from office and arrested in March, last year, following months of massive rallies that saw millions take to the streets calling for her removal.
She still has a small group of fierce supporters who regularly stage rallies calling for her release. Park maintains that she is a victim of ‘political revenge’ and has been refusing to attend court sessions since October. She refused to attend today’s court session, citing sickness. ‘The amount of bribery the accused received or demanded in collaboration with Choi amounts to more than 23 billion won,’ the judge said. ‘I sentence the accused to 24 years in prison and 18 billion won in fines.’