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Former South Korea president sentenced to 24 years

[JURIST] The Seoul Central District Court [official website] on Friday sentenced [KBS report] former South Korean president Park Geun-hye to 24 years in prison.

Park was removed from office in March 2017 by the country's Constitutional Court [official website].

In an unprecedented gesture, the peninsular nation's Supreme Court [official website] authorized live broadcasting of high-profile case sentencing proceedings, if doing so would serve the public interest. Live broadcasting can proceed even against if parties object to it. Live broadcasting was authorized as of August 1, 2017.

Allegations included extortion, bribery, abuse of state power, coercion and leaking state secrets. The court found that Park had engaged in bribery and extortion schemes with companies like Samsung, Lotte Group and SK Group. The court also found Park guilty of blacklisting artists in the country who were critical of her administration.

Prosecutors brought a total of 18 charges against Park. Prosecutors also asked the District Court for the country's maximum prison sentence of 30 years, and a fine of 118.5 billion won. The court found Park guilty of 16 of the 18 of the charges, sentenced the former president to 24 years in prison, and fined her 18 billion won.

Park, herself, was not present during the court session. The former president has been boycotting her trial since October when the District Court extended her detention.

Park was South Korea's first female president as well as the nation's first president to be impeached. She is the daughter of former president Park Chung-hee. Park Chung-hee ruled as a dictator from 1961 until his assassination in 1971. Supporters of Park Geun-hye believe her trial and sentence were unfair and politically motivated.

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