September 19, 2018 12:09
Ex-President Park Geun-hye is spending her time in prison much as she spent her time in office, shut off from most human contact and essentially in a world of her own. She has been in jail since March 31.
She used to exercise for an hour a day but in recent months has refused to leave her solitary cell and reportedly barely touched her food. One prison official said, "We continue to monitor her condition around the clock but are often concerned about her health."
The only time Park leaves her cell is to meet her former lawyer Yoo Yeong-ha, who quit during her trial in protest at a court decision and visits her a couple of times a month.
Park is unmarried and estranged from the rest of her dysfunctional family. Her only confidante in her heyday was Choi Soon-sil, who effectively ran her life, but the two women have not spoken since Park was ousted amid massive nationwide protests in late 2016.
Yoo said Park's "chronic neck and back pains have worsened, making it difficult for her to stretch in her cell and exercise outdoors."
The former leader has undergone several check-ups in hospital in Seoul for back pains. Her back pain apparently worsened this year, requiring injections of painkillers.
Prison officials call Yoo once a day to inform him of Park's health.
"We asked prison officials to allow her to be treated properly in a major hospital," Yoo said, but added they "seem to worry about the controversy an extended hospital stay could cause."
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