South Korea's Ex-Prez Found Guilty, Sentenced to 24 Years

'The defendant abused her presidential power entrusted by the people'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2018 4:46 AM CDT
South Korea's Ex-Leader Sentenced to 24 Years
A supporter of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye weeps during a rally to call for her release in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

South Korea's former President Park Guen-hye has been sentenced to 24 years in prison, less than 13 months after she was forced from office amid a corruption scandal. Park, who was found guilty on charges including abuse of power, was also fined $17 million in a verdict that was broadcast live on TV Friday, the BBC reports. "The defendant abused her presidential power entrusted by the people, and as a result, brought massive chaos to the order of state affairs and led to the impeachment of the president, which was unprecedented," judge Kim Se-yoon said, per Reuters. Park, daughter of a former military dictator, has been behind bars since her arrest at the end of March last year.

The court found the 66-year-old guilty on 16 of 18 counts. Park maintains her innocence and has refused to attend court proceedings, calling them "political revenge," the AP reports. Both Park and prosecutors—who had sought a 30-year sentence—have a week to appeal the verdict that was handed down Friday. The downfall of Park, South Korea's first female president, was part of a scandal that brought down dozens of South Korean business and political leaders. She was accused of conspiring with her close friend Choi Soon-sil to pressure major companies, including Samsung, to donate to foundations run by Choi. Choi was found guilty of corruption earlier this year and sentenced to 20 years. (Read more Park Geun-hye stories.)

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