Park’s 2018 sentence was reduced to 20 years last July following a retrial. Prosecutors appealed that sentence and requested a heavier penalty, but on Thursday, South Korea’s Supreme Court upheld Park’s 20-year jail term, according to a news release from the court.
The Supreme Court is South Korea’s highest court, meaning that Thursday’s decision is expected to be the end of Park’s legal avenues to appeal her sentence.
Park will have to serve 22 years behind bars — she faces an additional two-year prison term for a 2018 conviction for meddling in the nomination of candidates for Saenuri Party, a conservative political party previously led by her.
“This is the conclusion of a state corruption affair which follows the people’s candlelight revolution, impeachment by the Assembly, and a judicial ruling. It is a manifestation of our democratic republic’s constitutional spirit and signifies advancement and maturity of Korean democracy,” South Korea’s presidential Blue House said in a statement Thursday. “We must make sure to take this unfortunate event — the imprisonment of the former President — as a historical lesson and avoid repeating it.”
South Korea corruption scandal
The daughter of former dictator Park Chung-hee, Park Geun-hye became South Korea’s first female President when she came to power in 2013.
That vote came after millions of South Koreans took to the streets over a period of several months to demand Park’s ouster, after revelations emerged about the undue influence wielded by her adviser and confidant, Choi Soon-sil, the daughter of a cult leader.
CNN’s Paula Hancocks, Yoonjung Seo and James Griffiths contributed to this report.