Ousted South Korean President 'given special treatment' in detention centre

Chantal Da Silva
Ms Park was impeached from office in March over a corruption scandal that plunged the country into political turmoil: AP

A South Korea detention centre has come under fire over allegations it gave special treatment to former President Park Geun-hye, who faces charges in the bribery scandal that saw her removed from office in March.

Ms Park was given permission to stay in one of the Seoul Detention Centre’s prison guard offices for two days, while maintenance work was underway in the cell where she is currently being held, the Yonhap news agency reported.

Local news outlets said the maintenance work was requested by Ms Park herself, after she refused to step inside a cell because it looked “unclean” and demanded that “new wallpaper” be put it up.

The former President is reportedly being held separately from other inmates in a cell designed to hold at least six people.

Critics have accused the detention centre of giving Ms Park preferential treatment. It has denied the accusations, however, saying it was an “inevitable” decision to separate Ms Park from other inmates due to “security reasons,” Yonhap reports.

The detention centre also defended its decision to do maintenance work on the cell, insisting that the wallpaper had not been replaced since 2013.

Ms Park was impeached from office after nearly four years of service on 10 March over a corruption scandal that plunged the country into political turmoil.

The ex-President has been accused of giving major Korean companies “favours” in exchanged for donations to organisations controlled by one of her confidantes.

Ms Park was formally arrested on 31 March over the allegations, with prosecutors expected to release formal charges against her next week.

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