South Korea's First Female President Has Been Jailed For 24 Years

She refused to attend any court hearings since October. She cited sickness as the reason for not appearing for the verdict.

A judge at the Central District Court in Seoul gave his verdict and read out a lengthy explanation of the guilty decision.

South Korean ousted leader Park Geun-hye arrives at a court in Seoul on Aug 25, 2017.

Along with the prison sentence, Park was also fined 18 billion won ($16.8 million), Kim said. It said Park was unaware that the money was in return for helping Samsung complete a merger of group firms that was needed for a smooth leadership succession. She has been sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Numerous charges stemmed from Park's association with her longtime friend and adviser Choi Soon-sil, who was sentenced to 20 years for corruption and influence peddling in February. The court agreed that Park planned an elaborate extortion scheme with a confidant, Choi Soon-sil.

The friend, Choi Soon-sil, was convicted in a separate trial of receiving bribes from conglomerates including Samsung, the world's biggest maker of smartphones and semiconductors, and the Lotte Group.

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

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As the scandal unfolded, large demonstrations broke out across the nation, demanding Park's impeachment and ouster.

This case was the rarest in the history of South Korea where the court chose to broadcast the trial live.

Park was removed from office early previous year following months of protests.

Her father, Park Chung-hee, orchestrated a military coup in 1961 and ruled Korea as a dictator who brutally crushed dissidents and opposition. But he's also remembered for imprisoning and torturing dissidents.

Park, 66, had boycotted most of the trial in protest at being held in custody. She left the presidential mansion in 1979 after her father was gunned down by his own intelligence chief during a late-night drinking party.

It is the culmination of a scandal which rocked South Korea, fuelling rage against political and business elites. That led to a presidential election won by the liberal Moon Jae-in, whose conciliatory stand on North Korea has underpinned a significant warming of ties between the rival neighbors. But her relations with the Choi family have long haunted her political career.

Much of the public anger was focused on Park's relationship with Choi and accusations that she let her childhood friend - who held no formal position or security clearance - meddle in state affairs, including high-level appointments and editing official speeches.

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