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Disgraced South Korean ex-President Park Goes on Trial

By: TeleSur

Park is South Korea

Park faced a panel which included Judge Kim Se-yun, who asked her, “What is your occupation?” to which she replied: “I don’t have any occupation.”

 

South Korea’s embattled former president Park Guen-hye faced the judiciary today.

The ex-head of state, who was recently impeached, attended the first formal hearing to answer to corruption charges that have been brought against her. Park is South Korea’s first democratically elected president to be removed from office.

Park was brought to the Seoul Central District Court in handcuffs. And, camera flashes went off as the disgraced politician emerged in a dark-coloured jacket with her inmate number attached to it. She sat before a three-judge panel which included Judge Kim Se-yun, who asked Park, “What is your occupation?” to which she replied: “I don’t have any occupation.”

Park held her head straight as prosecutors read out the charges against her. “The accused Park Geun-Hye, in collusion with her friend Choi Soon-Sil…abused power and pressured business companies to provide bribes, thus taking private gains,” senior prosecutor Lee Won-Seok informed the court.

Prosecutors told the court that last year Park and Choi colluded in receiving seven billion won ($6m) from Shin Dong-Bin, the chairman of retail giant Lotte. Park is also accused of allowing Choi – who has no title or security clearance – to handle a wide range of state affairs including senior nominations.

Park faces 18 charges including extortion, bribery and abuse of power – all of which she denies.

If convicted, Park could be sentenced to life in prison.

Al Jazeera reported that about 250 people, mostly older South Koreans, gathered outside the court to decry the charges against Park. Some even expressed that they believe the former president has been framed. While others, who support the process, say it is important for South Korean democracy that the trial to go ahead.

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