Park tries to waive her right to appeal case

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Park tries to waive her right to appeal case

Former President Park Geun-hye, who was sentenced earlier this month to 24 years in prison by a Seoul court for abuse of power and corruption, waived her right to appeal Monday.

Park filed handwritten papers disclosing her intention to give up on an appeals proceeding for her conviction on April 6, according to the Seoul Central District Court.

But an appellate trial is expected to proceed nonetheless as prosecutors have applied to appeal the verdict.

The state requested a heavier penalty for Park in February - a 30-year prison term and fine of 118.5 billion won ($110.3 million) for 18 charges of corruption and abuse of power - but the court found her guilty of just 16 charges and sentenced her to 24 years in prison and a fine of 18 billion won. Prosecutors are appealing that decision.

Park had until last Friday to petition for an appeal, but she did not file one. Instead, her estranged younger sister, Park Geun-ryeong, former chairwoman of the Yookyoung Foundation, a charity for children’s welfare projects launched by their mother, the former first lady, Yuk Young-soo, filed the appeals petition in her older sister’s stead on that day.

According to the Criminal Procedure Act, a defendant’s spouse, lineal relative, sibling or a legal counsel who represented the defendant in the original trial can lodge an appeal on their behalf.

The younger Park apparently did not confirm with her older sister whether she wanted to go ahead with an appeals petition. Since the law states an appeals petition cannot be lodged against the clearly expressed intentions of the defendant, the petition will be overridden by Park Geun-hye’s waiver. Park was said to have clearly expressed to her public defender that she planned to waive her right to appeal.

Meanwhile, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said last Wednesday that it filed an appeal against the court’s verdict on Park, saying that some of the bribery charges against her were unfairly cleared.

In February, Park’s confidante, Choi Soon-sil, was sentenced to 20 years in jail and fined 18 billion won in her trial for power abuse and bribery in connection with the president.

The Seoul court earlier this month convicted Park of most of her charges but acquitted her of charges related to Samsung’s donations to foundations controlled by Choi.

Park’s waiver of her rights to appeal appears to be an indication that she plans to boycott the appellate proceedings. She has been avoiding proceedings since October.

BY SARAH KIM, LEE GA-YOUNG [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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