Former South Korean dictator Chun Doo-hwan, who ruled the country between 1980 and 1988, when he was overthrown by mass demonstrations, He died this Tuesday at the age of 90 at his home in Seoul.

General Chun came to power in a coup, after the assassination of the previous leader, Park Chung-hee, in 1979.

During his mandate, marked by repression, the South Korean economy took off and the country’s capital became the site of the 1988 Olympics.

The popular demand for a democratically elected government – Chun wanted the mandate to be assumed by a trusted candidate – forced him to resign.

“The Butcher of Gwangju”

Chun He is known as the “Butcher of Gwangju” for the Army’s repression of a popular uprising against him in that city in the southwest of the country in August 1980. It is estimated that about 200 people died or disappeared in that fact, although the activists assure that the losses can be three times higher.

In 1996 the dictator was sentenced to death for his involvement in the massacre. Nevertheless, the execution was commuted at the appeal stage and he was subsequently released thanks to a presidential pardon. Last year he was found guilty of defamation in connection with the Gwangju massacre.

Chun always denied his direct participation in the repression and alleged that it was “riots”, like other South Korean far-right politicians.

No flowers for Chun

South Korean Presidency spokeswoman Park Kyung-mee expressed her condolences to Chun’s family, but added that it was regrettable that the former leader had not apologized for the events in Gwangju before he died.

Park added that the Blue House, the official residence of the president, did not plan to send flowers or any representative to Chun’s funeralSouth Korean news agency Yoonhap reported.



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