'what?!': Former Leader Bristles At Reporters Questioning 1980 Massacre [photos]

Former President Chun Doo-hwan arrived at a district court in Gwangju on Monday to testify in a trial handling a defamation case against him.

He arrived at the court at 12:35 p.m., nearly four hours after he left his residence in Yeonhui-dong, Seoul. The trial is set to begin at 2:30 p.m.

Chun is accompanied by his wife and former first lady Lee Soon-ja and his attorney.

Chun, who led an authoritarian government from 1980-1988, was indicted last May on charges that his memoir defamed victims of his government's bloody crackdown on the Gwangju pro-democracy revolt.

He is accused of libeling late activist priest Cho Chul-hyun, who said he saw soldiers shooting at citizens from helicopters during the bloody suppression of the protests against Chun's rule.

Chun denied the claim in his memoir published in early 2017. He called Cho "Satan wearing a mask" and claimed that what Cho said was a flat-out lie.

Gwangju District Court issued a subpoena against Chun, 88, after he repeatedly refused to come to the hearing, citing health conditions that include a claim that he has Alzheimer's disease.

His lawyer has said the former president has no intention of evading court proceedings.

Prosecutors began investigating after a relative of Cho filed a complaint. If convicted, Chun could face up to two years' jail or a fine of up to 5 million won ($4,550).

The former army general seized power in a 1979 coup and ruled the country until early 1988. He was sentenced to death in 1996 for treason and bribery. The highest court reduced his sentence to life imprisonment, and he was released in December 1997 on a presidential pardon.

The primary issue of former President Chun Doo-hwan's ongoing libel trial involves his denial of the existence of helicopter strafing at citizens during a bloody military crackdown on the 1980 pro-democracy uprising in Gwangju.

In his memoirs, published in 2017, Chun strongly rebutted late activist priest Cho Chul-hyun's lifetime claim that he saw soldiers in helicopters firing at citizens...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT