South Korea's corruption-tainted former President Park Guen-hye's sentence extended
A South Korean appeal court today extended ex-President Park Geun-hye's prison sentence for corruption and abuse of power by one year. Park was convicted in April of receiving or demanding over 20mn South Korean Won from conglomerates, sharing secret state documents, blacklisting artists critical of her policies, and firing officials who resisted her abuses of power. She now faces the 25 years in prison.
Park had seriously abused her powers as President: Court
Park's 10-month trial highlighted shady links between big business and politics in South Korea, with Park and her friend Choi Soon-sil accused of taking bribes from corporate bigwigs in exchange for preferential treatment. At the time she was given a 24-year sentence but the prosecution sought a 30-year term. The Seoul High Court today said that Park had seriously abused her powers as President.
Such unethical dealings ruin fundamentals of our democracy: Court
"Such unethical dealings between political power and economic power ruin the fundamentals of our democracy and distorts the order of the market economy, leaving South Koreans with a deep sense of loss and sowing the seeds of deep distrust in our society," the court said.
Park says case is politically motivated
The High Court upheld the original verdict, this time sentencing Park to 25 years in prison and a fine of 20 billion South Korean Won ($18 million). The former President, who did not appeal against her conviction, has been boycotting the court, accusing the judicial process of being politically motivated, and was not present to hear the ruling.
Park is an aristocrat whose parents were assassinated
Park's conviction completed a dramatic fall from grace for South Korea's first female leader, the conservative daughter of a former dictator who grew up in the Presidential palace only to have both her parents assassinated and later become a figure of public fury and ridicule.
Park will be 100 by the time of her release
Outside the court, Park's die-hard supporters chanted, "Release Park now!" and "Down with the leftist Communist government!" Park has also been given eight more years for a separate conviction on charges including illegally receiving funds from South Korea's spy agency. The penalties apply consecutively, meaning that unless she has them commuted, the 66-year-old will be approaching 100 by the time of her release.