SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean court on Friday extended the detention of former President Park Geun-hye, who is on trial over broad corruption allegations that led to her removal from office and arrest in March.
The Seoul Central District Court issued an additional six-month arrest warrant for Park which will take effect once the current warrant expires on Monday, according to a court official who didn't want to be named, citing office rules.
Prosecutors said Park should be kept behind bars until the court reaches a verdict in her case, citing concerns she might try to destroy evidence if released. A verdict is expected as early as before the end of the year.
Park faces the possibility of a lengthy prison term over charges that she colluded with a friend to take tens of millions of dollars from companies in bribes and extortion.
The scandal led to the indictments of dozens of people, including former Cabinet ministers, senior presidential aides and billionaire Samsung scion Lee Jae-yong, who has appealed an August ruling that sentenced him to five years in prison for offering bribes to Park and her friend in exchange for business favors.
Park was arrested and jailed on the last day of March, weeks after Seoul's Constitutional Court upheld an impeachment bill passed by lawmakers in December and formally removed her from office. Millions of people had angrily but peacefully marched in the streets for months calling for her ouster, turning a large boulevard near Seoul's presidential palace into a sea of candlelight over dozens of weekends.
A smaller but growing number of Park's supporters — many of them in their 50s, 60s, and 70s — has been rallying near the court in recent months, calling for her release.