Heavy sentence demanded for ousted S. Korean leader

Alex Jensen

SEOUL: Prosecutors asked a local court on Tuesday to sentence former President Park Geun-hye to 30 years behind bars.

Park, 66, has been detained for nearly a year as she was hit with 18 charges of power abuse and corruption after being expelled from office last March.

While the scandal that ousted her has already led to a series of punishments among her aides and officials, Park’s verdict is not set to take place until April 6 — in part because of a delay due to the ex-leader’s legal team quitting over an alleged political bias.

The case against Park has continued to build with investigators gathering evidence ranging from multimillion-dollar conglomerate bribes to restricting the freedom of cultural figures deemed critical of the government.

Her old friend and private confidante Choi Soon-sil has already been handed sentences of three and 20 years in prison by the Seoul Central District Court, which will also decide Park’s fate.

The pair were the focus of massive street protests from 2016, as the public accused them of abusing the presidential office to distort the country’s democracy and seek personal gain.

Park has pleaded not guilty although she was absent from her trial Tuesday.