Former South Korean dictator Chun Doo-hwan dead at 90

Ex-general seized power in 1979 coup, ruled country until 1988.

ANKARA (AA) – South Korea’s former President and military dictator Chun Doo-hwan, who seized power in a 1979 coup, has died at the age of 90, local media reported Tuesday.

Chun, who had long battled blood cancer and other ailments, died at home in the capital Seoul, according to the Yonhap News Agency.

In 1979, as a general, Chun staged a coup after the assassination of President Park Chung-hee, leading him to rule the country until 1988.

Chun’s government was criticized for its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in the southern city of Gwangju in 1980, leaving more than 200 dead and 1,800 others wounded.

The former general never apologized for his ruthless crackdown on civilians, according to Yonhap.

In 1996, he was convicted and sentenced to death for treason. However, later the country’s top court commuted his sentence to life in prison.

He was pardoned in 1997 during the government of then-President Kim Young-sam.

South Korea’s Veterans Affairs Ministry said that the late leader is not eligible to be buried in the state cemetery reserved for national heroes.

“As former President Chun was given a prison term for treason, he is subject to exclusion from the list of those to be buried at a national cemetery,” the agency quoted a ministry official as saying.


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