Accessibility links

Breaking News

Trial of Ousted South Korean President Begins

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, center, arrives at a court in Seoul, South Korea, May 23, 2017.

Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye denied all charges against her at the opening of her trial Tuesday in Seoul.

She faces charges of bribery, extortion, abuse of power and other high-profile corruption charges that could potentially send her to jail for life.

Park was impeached in December by parliament and in March fired by the country's top court following revelations of her involvement in a massive corruption scandal centered on her friend of 40 years and bringing in some of the country's top businessmen, including Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong. Soon afterwards she was detained and indicted.

The trial is expected to last for months, and could shed new light on the ties between Park and the bosses of the family-run conglomerates who allegedly bribed her, among them Lee and Lotte Chairman Shin Dong-bin.

It comes only two weeks after the country last week elected left-leaning former human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in — who lost the 2012 poll to Park — as her successor.

Tuesday’s opening session saw Park arrive at the court in handcuffs and marked her first public appearance since she was taken into custody in March. Hundreds of people flocked to the court to enter a lottery for seats in the public gallery.

Park, 65, is the third former South Korean leader to stand trial for corruption following Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, who served jail terms in the 1990s for charges including bribery and treason.

When she was elected in 2012 as South Korea's first female president, Park secured the highest vote share of any candidate in the country’s democratic era. But she has spent the past weeks in a small cell with a mattress, table, sink, toilet and television.