Park’s sentence in 2018 was reduced to 20 years last July after a retrial. Prosecutors appealed the ruling and demanded a tougher sentence, but on Thursday, South Korea’s Supreme Court upheld Park’s 20-year prison sentence, according to a press release from the court.
The Supreme Court is South Korea’s highest court, which means Thursday’s decision is expected to be the end of Park’s legal avenues to appeal the ruling.
Park will have to serve 22 years behind bars – she faces an additional two-year prison sentence for conviction in 2018 of interfering with the nomination of candidates for the Signori Party, the conservative political party she previously leads.
“This is the conclusion of the state corruption case following the candlelight people’s revolution, the removal of parliament, and a judicial decision. It is a manifestation of the constitutional spirit of our democratic republic and indicates the progress and maturity of Korean democracy.” The Blue House said in a statement Thursday. “We must make sure that this unfortunate event – the imprisonment of the former president – is considered a historical lesson and avoided repeating it,” he added.
Corruption scandal in South Korea
Park Geun-hee, daughter of former dictator Park Chung-hee, became South Korea’s first female president when she came to power in 2013.
The vote came after millions of South Koreans took to the streets over several months to demand the ouster of Park, after discoveries emerged about the undue influence of her advisor and confidant, Choi Sun-sil, the daughter of a sect leader.
CNN’s Paula Hancock, Young Seo Seo and James Griffiths contributed to this report.