Ex-South Korean president gets 24 years in prison for corruption

After her impeachment in December 2016, Park was removed from office by South Korea's Constitutional Court in March and, as a result, lost her immunity from prosecution.

"It's inevitable that the defendant should be held strictly responsible for her crimes, if only to prevent the unfortunate event of (a president) abusing the power given by the people and causing chaos in state affairs", Chief Judge Kim Se-yun said as the sentence was delivered.

Park was found guilty of 16 of the 18 charges she faced, related to a massive influence-peddling case that removed her from office past year. She has boycotted her trial hearings and has previously accused the courts of being biased against her.

"We can not help but sternly hold her accountable", the judge said. Park once described Choi as someone who helped her when she had difficulties.

Park's was impeached previous year after news of an information peddling scandal led to hundreds of thousands of South Koreans taking to the streets of the capital in protest in what has been dubbed the Candlelight Revolution.

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Moon's office said Park's fate was "heartbreaking" not only for herself but the nation. "We will not forget today".

A South Korean judge said Friday that ex-President Park Geun-hye is guilty of abuse of power and coercion.

The court found that Park, had colluded with her long-time friend Choi Soon-sil to solicit bribes from South Korean conglomerates, including Samsung. She was also ordered to pay 18 billion won.

He was initially sentenced to death, before the penalty was commuted to life in prison by the country's highest court in 1997. The chairman of the Lotte Group, the country's fifth-largest conglomerate, Shin Dong-bin, was jailed for two years and six months.

On Feb. 13, the same court sentenced Choi to 20 years in prison.

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Park's supporters and opponents reflect divisions in a society still haunted by Cold War antagonism.

Park, the daughter of assassinated dictator Park Chung-hee, faced a total of 18 charges.

Park was also convicted of the charges related to her government's creation and management of an artist blacklist deemed critical of her government. She lost to Lee Myung-bak in a 2007 primary for the party's presidential candidacy.

Two others, Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, were convicted for treason and corruption in the 1990s.

In August 2017, Samsung's acting head, Lee Jae-yong, had already been jailed for five years for bribery and embezzlement.

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  • Ryan Wade