South Korea court hands ex-president Park Geun-hye 32 years in prison

South Korean court has sentenced former South Korean President Park Geun-hye to an additional eight years for abusing state funds and violating election laws.

Separately, prosecuors sought 30 years in prison and a fine of 118.5 billion won ($104.3 million) for the former president as proceedings in an appeals trial for her graft case concluded the same day.

The Seoul Central District Court ruled that Park, who already received a 24-year jail term over separate corruption charges, colluded with her former aides to cause the loss of government funds worth 3.3bn won ($2.91m) from the National Intelligence Service.

“The accused received some three billion won over three years from the three NIS chiefs. Through this crime, the accused incurred a considerable amount of loss to the state treasury,” said senior judge Seong Chang-ho at the Seoul Central District Court.

Three former NIS chiefs testified they had funnelled the funds to Park on her orders, the court said.

The judge rebuked Park, who denied the charges, for being “uncooperative” throughout the court hearing and questioning by prosecutors.

She was also found guilty of interfering in the then-ruling Saenuri Party’s selection of candidates for the parliamentary election.

Prosecutors had earlier demanded a 15-year sentence for Park.

Park, 66, has denied wrongdoing and was not present in court. She was found guilty by a lower court in April of separate charges including bribery, abuse of power and coercion. She was also fined $16m.

She now faces a total of 32 years in prison.

Prosecutors, who sought the longer 30-year prison term and larger fine, appealed the ruling to a higher court, while Park, who denied all charges while boycotting her trial since the fall of 2017, did not.

The Seoul High Court will deliver a ruling on the appeals case on Aug. 24.

The former president was also found guilty of receiving bribes from Samsung Electronics Co., South Korea’s largest conglomerate.

Park, 66, was ousted from power in March 2017 as the country’s Constitutional Court upheld her impeachment in parliament over a corruption and abuse-of-power scandal, paving the way for her arrest and eventual prosecution.

Park, the daughter of assassinated military ruler Park Chung Hee, was in the final year of her single five-year term as president when she was removed from office. She remains in detention following her arrest in March 2017.

Source :Aljazeera


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