Corruption: Ex-President Jailed For 24 Years
It seems former presidents who dipped their hands in the cookie jar have the law to contend with.
South Korea’s disgraced former president Park Geun-hye was jailed for 24 years on Friday for corruption, closing out a dramatic fall from grace for the country’s first woman leader who became a figure of public fury and ridicule.
It could pose a big blow for persons who push for more women in power.
A trial which lasted more than 10 months ended with Park being found guilty on multiple criminal charges, including bribery and abuse of power.
Park’s successor described the sentencing as a “heartbreaking event” for both the nation and the ex-leader herself.
“The accused abused the power bestowed by the people — the true ruler of this country — to cause chaos in national administration,” said Judge Kim Se-yoon.
“Despite all these crimes the accused denied all the charges against her, displayed no remorse and showed an incomprehensible attitude by blaming Choi and other … officials,” he said, referring to Park’s secret confidante and long-time friend Choi Soon-sil.
Park, 66, was convicted of receiving or demanding more than $20 million from conglomerates, sharing secret state documents with Choi, ordering officials to stop offering state subsidies to “blacklisted” artists critical of her policies, and firing officials who resisted her abuses of power.
The wide-ranging corruption scandal exposed shady links between big business and politics in South Korea, prompting massive street protests against Park last year.
But on Friday the ruling was greeted with dismay in streets outside the courtroom by several hundred flag-waving Park supporters.
Many protesters sat on the pavement in tears while others began a protest march.
This is happening simultaneously with the corruption trial of former South Africa president Jacob Zuma.