July 18, 2018 13:01
Ex-President Park Geun-hye's sentencing on charges that she took regular kickbacks from the National Intelligence Service will be broadcast live on Friday. In April, the sentencing in her main trial for influence-peddling and corruption in office was also broadcast live against her wishes.
"Considering the public interest and various other circumstances, we authorized the requests of the news media to broadcast the hearing live," the Seoul Central District Court said Tuesday.
To maintain order in the courtroom, the hearing will be filmed by cameras set up by the court and relayed to broadcasters in real time.
The Supreme Court in May last year revised rules to permit live broadcasts of sentencing hearings in lower courts if they are of major public interest, whether the defendant agrees or not. The decision was a direct reaction to the Park scandal, and her lawyers argued it was aimed at "shaming the defendant."
In the fresh trial, Park and several of her aides are charged with taking delivery of W3.5 billion in envelopes over several years from the NIS that had been siphoned off a "special activities" budget (US$1=W1,126).
The bribery charge relates less to any specific favors the NIS hoped to gain from Park than to a grotesquely magnified version of the Korean practice of currying favor with authority figures with gifts and money.
Unlike in her main trial, where the defense argued that Park never profited personally from the huge bribes she extorted, prosecutors believe they have proved that she used the NIS money for her own benefit.
Park has already been sentenced to 24 years behind bars for corruption and abuse of office.
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