Corruption verdict on South Korea's former president Park to be televised live

South Korea's former president Park Geun Hye has been in police custody for almost a year over a wide-ranging corruption scandal, which exposed shady links between big business and politics.
South Korea's former president Park Geun Hye has been in police custody for almost a year over a wide-ranging corruption scandal, which exposed shady links between big business and politics.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (AFP) - The corruption verdict and sentencing of South Korea's former president Park Geun Hye will be televised live, Yonhap said on Tuesday (April 3), in a case that could see her jailed for 30 years.

The 66-year-old Park, daughter of a former dictator, was ousted from power in March 2017 following months of street protests.

She has been in police custody for almost a year over a wide-ranging corruption scandal, which exposed shady links between big business and politics.

The Seoul Central District Court said it would allow the verdict and sentencing of Park, set for Friday afternoon, to be broadcast live on television due to high public interest, the Yonhap news agency reported.

The sentencing hearing is slated to start at 2.10 pm on Friday (April 6).

Prosecutors have demanded a 30-year-jail sentence and a 118.5 billion won (US$110 million) fine for Park, saying she must take responsibility for the scandal as the former president.

Park is accused of colluding with her secret confidante and long-time friend Choi Soon Sil, who has been convicted and jailed, for taking tens of millions of dollars from conglomerates in return for policy favours.

 

It is unclear whether Park will attend court on Friday as she has boycotted her hearings since the court extended her detention last October.

Choi was sentenced to 20 years in prison, five years less than what prosecutors had demanded.

Park’s downfall gave the left-leaning Democratic Party the upper hand in the presidential election last May, which was easily won by Moon Jae In.

Park has been in custody for almost a year at a detention centre near Seoul, where she has refused to see any visitors, including her brother and sister, except for her two lawyers.

Aside from the 30 to 60 minutes in which she is allowed to take her daily outdoor walk, she confines herself to her 10-sq m solitary cell, spending most of the day reading novels and cartoons and writing what might be a memoir, according to local news reports.

She eats every meal but usually leaves half of the portion, the reports said, adding that she has recently purchased two books on stretching as she is reportedly suffering from arthritis on her knees and back pain.