South Korean former President Park Geun-hye has been sentenced to 24 years in prison this Friday by a Seoul court for bribery within Rasputina's corruption plot, which forced her dismissal in January 2017, according to Reuters agency. Although there is a live broadcast on today's trial, she would not be able to know the verdict until tonight as live broadcasts are prohibited in prison.
Younger, liberal voters, who staged months of protests against Park before her ouster, will be hoping the verdict will be a watershed in efforts by the new government to end the self-serving collusion between political leaders and the powerful conglomerates known as chaebol.
She was also ordered to pay a fine of $17 million (18 billion won). She was formally removed from office by the Constitutional Court on March 10, 2017.
The daughter of assassinated dictator Park Chung-hee, Park Guen-hye took office in 2013 as a conservative leader and projected herself as the daughter of the nation, AFP reported.
Kang Chul-koo, one of Park's state-appointed lawyers, said he would discuss with her the possibility of an appeal.
The ex-president was also fined 18 billion won (US$16.8 million) - which was just a tenth of the amount requested by the prosecution.
Prosecutors are aiming for a 30-year prison term.
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Her predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, who held the presidential office from 2008 to 2013, is also now in detention as he is suspected of multiple corruption charges.
Park has previously maintained her innocence.
Millions of South Koreans took to the streets previous year demanding the end of Park's government, and they succeeded in having her impeached.
The fall 2016 revelations that her close confidant, Choi, who had no official government position, was editing national policy documents and making behind-the-scenes decisions for the president led to street protests in which hundreds of thousands of Koreans called for Park's resignation. Ten days later, she is arrested.
At the centre of the scandal that toppled Park's government is the allegation that she and Choi, collected or demanded large bribes from three big businesses, including Samsung, the country's largest family-controlled conglomerate.
Many protesters sat or lay in the road crying, while others formed a protest rally calling for her release.
Park becomes the third former South Korean leader to be convicted on criminal charges after leaving office, joining Chun Doo-whan and Roh Tae-woo, who were both found guilty of treason and corruption in the 1990s.