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Park Geun-hye

South Korea court says Park Geun-hye trial to continue, despite boycott by ex-president

Park has refused to appear for her trial, angry at the court’s decision last month to extend her detention by six months

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 November, 2017, 3:16pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 November, 2017, 10:37pm

The trial of disgraced former South Korean president Park Geun-hye will proceed without her, a court said Tuesday, following a hiatus of more than 40 days as she boycotted proceedings.

Park, who was ousted earlier this year over a sprawling corruption scandal, has refused to appear for her trial, angry at the court’s decision last month to extend her detention by six months.

The ex-president’s legal team quit last month over the decision, accusing the court of bias. Park has since refused to cooperate with a team of state-sponsored defence lawyers appointed by the court, and failed to appear for her trial on Monday and Tuesday.

“We have a lot of things to do, including the questioning of many witnesses. Taking into account the limited time … we cannot delay the trial any longer,” presiding judge Kim Se-yoon said Tuesday.

The court-appointed defence lawyers repeatedly sought to interview Park at the detention centre where she is being held, but she refused to see them, the Yonhap news agency said.

Park, 65, submitted a letter to the detention centre on Monday, saying she cannot appear at her trial because of her health problems.

The centre reported to the court that Park has been taking painkillers for back pain and a swollen knee, and has made clear her intention to not appear at the trial.

Authorities at the detention centre said they were unable to force Park out because of her status as a former president of South Korea.

Park, South Korea’s first woman president, was impeached by parliament in December after months of mass protests over accusations of graft and influence-peddling.

South Korea’s constitutional court upheld the decision in March, removing her from office. Her trial started in May.