South Korea’s former President Park Geun-hye has been sentenced to 24 years in jail after she was found guilty of abuse of power and coercion.
- Unprecedented live broadcast of court verdict
- Guilty of a string of bribery and abuse of power charges
- First democratically-elected South Korean president to be impeached after moves of street protests calling for her resignation
- Has shown “no sign of repentance” after causing “massive chaos” in the country
- Probably spending the rest of her life behind bars
The verdict was broadcast live and represents the culmination of a scandal which rocked the country, fuelling rage against political and business elites.
Park, who was also fined 18 billion won, faced a string of corruption charges.
The former leader was not in court on Friday for the verdict.
She has boycotted her trial hearings and has previously accused the courts of being biased against her. She has also denied all wrongdoing and has said she will appeal her sentence.
Judge Kim Se-yoon said Park had shown “no sign of repentance” after causing “massive chaos” in the country.
“We cannot help but sternly hold her accountable,” the judge said.
South Korea’s presidential residence, the Blue House, issued a statement after the verdict calling it a “heartbreaking event for the nation”.
“A history that is not remembered is bound to be repeated,” it read.
The move by the authorities to allow Friday’s verdict to be broadcast live was unprecedented, but they cited extraordinary public interest in the case.
After a prolonged series of hearings and months of street protests calling for her resignation, Park was finally removed from office in March 2017, making her the first democratically-elected president to be impeached.
She was arrested shortly afterwards and has been in detention ever since.