South Korea’s Park Geun-hye in court: faces life sentence

South Korea’s Park Geun-hye in court: faces life sentence

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye will appear in court on criminal charges for the first time on Tuesday. Ms

Photo:EPA

Photo: EPA

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye will appear in court on criminal charges for the first time on Tuesday. Ms Park faces 13 indictments, including bribery, coercion and leaking state secrets.

The disgraced leader was forced from office in March after allegations she abused her office to benefit Choi Soon-sil, a long-time friend.

Prosecutors assert Park allowed Choi to exploit her powerful position to solicit bribes and favours from South Korean conglomerates, including Samsung and retail giant Lotte. While the Constitutional Court unanimously upheld her impeachment on the same grounds, Park denies all wrongdoing.

Beyond the courtroom, the case has evoked public outrage at the apparent impunity shown by the country’s most powerful—Samsung chief Jay Y Lee is currently in custody on bribery allegations.

Even before Park’s impeachment, large street demonstrations had all but condemned her; the May 9 election, won by progressive Moon Jae-in, highlights a swing against pro-business conservatives.