A Seoul court was set to decide Friday whether to extend the detention period of former President Park Geun-hye standing trial in a massive corruption case that toppled her from power early this year.
Park was ousted from office and arrested in March on charges of bribery and abuse of power in connection with an influence-peddling scandal. Her six-month arrest warrant expires Monday.
An additional warrant by the Seoul Central District Court can place Park under detention for up to another six months in accordance with the local code of criminal procedures.
Prosecutors asked the court to extend her detention late last month, saying it won't be able to finish courtroom interrogations of witnesses in the given time. Friday's trial is the 80th session of the court proceedings that began in May.
They pointed out that if Park is released, there is a high chance that she will not appear in the trial, which will seriously hinder the progress of the trial at the center of public interest.
Park stands accused of colluding with her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil, who has been also detained, in taking some 43 billion won (US$37 million) from top conglomerates, including Samsung, and letting her meddle in state affairs.
The prosecution has claimed an additional warrant is possible based on the bribery charges related to two other conglomerates -- SK and Lotte.
Park's legal counsel has opposed the extension, saying it is not necessary for a trial that is coming to an end.
They also asked the court to take into account her health issues. Park has been allowed out twice for medical treatment for a toe injury and back pains.