S. Korea's Ex-President Jailed Over Corruption Allegations

Park Geun-hye expected to soon be formally charged
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 30, 2017 2:29 PM CDT

(Newser) – South Korea's disgraced former President Park Geun-hye was arrested and jailed Friday over high-profile corruption allegations that already ended her tumultuous four-year rule and prompted an election to find her successor, the AP reports. Prosecutors can detain her for up to 20 days before formally charging her, meaning she will likely be in jail while her case is heard. A district court normally issues a ruling within six months of an indictment. The Seoul court's decision is yet another humiliating fall for Park, South Korea's first female president who was elected in 2012 amid overwhelming support from conservatives who recall her dictator father as a hero who lifted the country from poverty in the 1960-70s despite a record of severe human rights abuses.

Prosecutors accuse Park of colluding with a confidante to extort from big businesses, take a bribe from one of the companies, and commit other wrongdoing. The allegations led millions of South Koreans to protest in the streets every weekend for months before the Constitutional Court ruled March 10 to remove her. Park's presidential powers had already been suspended after Parliament impeached her in December. Prosecutors have said they want to arrest Park because her alleged crimes are "grave" and because other suspects involved in the scandal, including her confidante Choi Soo-sil, have already been arrested. The Seoul court said it decided to approve Park's arrest because of worries that Park may try to destroy evidence. In the coming weeks, prosecutors are expected to formally charge Park with extortion, bribery, and abuse of power. A bribery conviction alone is punishable by up to life in prison in South Korea. (Read more South Korea stories.)

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