A verdict is due against former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, after she was forced from office over an explosive corruption scandal that ensnared aides and prominent business leaders. Prosecutors requested a 30-year prison term after charging her with colluding with a confidante to take tens of millions of dollars from businesses in bribes and extortion. Park calls herself a victim of political revenge and will not be in court for the verdict.
, FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, left, arrives to attend a hearing on the extension of her detention at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea. A South Korea court is set to issue a verdict Friday, April 6, 2018, on disgraced former President Park over a corruption scandal. Park has been held at a detention center near Seoul since her arrest in March 2017, after she was removed from office on a landmark court ruling. Prosecutors have requested a 30-year prison term on her.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)
06 of April 2018 02:57:43
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean court is set to issue a verdict against disgraced former President Park Geun-hye on Friday, a year after she was forced out of office and arrested over an explosive corruption scandal that ensnared aides and prominent business leaders.
Park has been held at a detention center near Seoul since March 2017. Prosecutors requested a 30-year prison term on her, after charging her with colluding with a confidante to take tens of millions of dollars from businesses in bribes and extortion.
Park, South Korea's first female president, has maintained she is innocent and called herself a victim of "political revenge." She's been boycotting court sessions since last October. Park told the Seoul Central District Court on Friday morning that she couldn't attend the day's session citing sickness, according to the court.
A guilty verdict and prison sentence are likely for Park as many of the charges overlap with those of her confidante of 40 years, Choi Soon-sil, who received a 20-year prison term.
Both prosecutors and Park can appeal Friday's ruling.
Park is the daughter of late dictator Park Chung-hee, whose 18-year rule has long divided South Koreans. Many conservatives revere him as a hero who spearheaded the country's rapid economic rise in the 1960-70s, while liberals consider him as enormous human rights abuser who imprisoned and tortured dissidents deemed posing a challenge to his rule.
Park's scandal touched off months of massive street rallies calling for her ouster. She was impeached by lawmakers in December 2016 and forced to leave office in March 2017 on a landmark Constitutional Court ruling. Dozens of other high-level figures such as Choi, Samsung scion Lee Jae-yong and Lotte Chairman Shin Dong-bin have been sent to prison or are facing trial.
Nearly all South Korean presidents have been arrested or embroiled in scandals at the close of their terms or after leaving office. Park's liberal predecessor Lee Myung-bak was arrested and jailed last month in a separate corruption scandal. Lee's liberal predecessor Roh Moo-hyun killed himself in 2009 amid a corruption investigation of his family.