South Korean general, coup perpetration, and ex-president Chun Doo-hwan (90) has died. He had been suffering from cancer and Alzheimers for a few years, but died of a heart attack.
Chun was the leader of a group of military personnel who seized power in December 1979. That was three months after his mentor, then President Park Chung-hee, was murdered by his own intelligence chief during a drinking drink. Chun led the murder investigation and during that investigation brought the intelligence services under his control, after which the military drew all the power to him.
Chuns regime acted hard against the political opposition and against protests in the streets. A rebellion in the city of Gwangju was bloody knocked down. At least 200 people were killed in that. Thousands of students and other citizens disappeared behind bars.
Chun held opposition leader Kim Dae-jung responsible for the uprising and gave him the death penalty. This was only prevented by US intervention. Kim received a sentence reduction and was finally released.
Repay millions of dollars
Under pressure from student demonstrations, presidential elections were held in 1987. Chun was not a candidate, but was succeeded by his friend Roh Tae-woo, who had also been involved in the 1979 coup détat.
In 1995, Rohs successor brought both his predecessors to court for mutiny, betrayal and the massacre in Gwangju.
Roh received a jail sentence of 22.5 years and Chun the death penalty, but the Supreme Court gave both ex-presidents a sentence reduction. In 1997, they were released after the then president pardoned.
Roh and Chun were found guilty of bribery and had to repay millions of dollars in illegally obtained money. Roh did, but Chun didnt.
Chun also never expressed regrets for the crimes he committed. He continued to insist that the handle was necessary to prevent chaos.
And he continued to deny that he had sent military personnel to Gwangju to end the protest movement there. “Im sure Ill do the same thing if the same situation arose,” he said once in a court.
Not saying regret is heavily charged to him. Roh, who passed away last month, got a state funeral as he has also done positive things for his country.
But for Chun, such a ceremony is not at issue, says an adviser to the current president to AP news agency.