Latest: Former South Korean leader Park jailed for 24 years over corruption

Latest: Former South Korean leader Park jailed for 24 years over corruption

Update 8.30am: South Korea's former president Park Geun-hye has been jailed for 24 years over a corruption scandal.

Park was earlier found guilty at Seoul Central District Court of bribery, abuse of power, extortion and other charges.

Park has been held at a detention centre near Seoul since her arrest in March 2017, but she refused to attend Friday's court session, citing sickness.

The main charge was that she colluded with a long-time confidante to take tens of millions of dollars from companies in bribes and extortion.

Park was removed from office last year following months of massive rallies that saw millions take to the streets calling for her to be ousted.

Earlier: South Korea's former president Park Geun-hye has been found guilty of abuse of power and coercion.

The details came in a nationally televised verdict as Judge Kim Se-yun read a lengthy statement at Seoul Central District Court.

Sentencing is to follow, and prosecutors have demanded a 30-year prison term.

Park has been held at a detention centre near Seoul since her arrest in March 2017, but she refused to attend Friday's court session, citing sickness.

Park was removed from office early last year following months of massive rallies that saw millions take to the nation's streets calling for her to be ousted.

Once seen as the darling of South Korean conservatives, she was dubbed "Queen of Elections" by local media for her track record of leading her party to victory in tight races and still has a small group of fierce supporters who regularly stage rallies calling for her release.

Park maintains that she is a victim of "political revenge" and has been refusing to attend court sessions since October.

- PA

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