Former South Korean dictator Chun Doo-Hwan, “the butcher of Gwangju”, dies

Former South Korean dictator Chun Doo-Hwan, a protagonist of brutal repression after the 1979 coup, died at his home in Seoul at the age of 90. Under his presidency which lasted from 1980 to 1988, Chun guaranteed the country an impetuous economic development and the organization of the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Rising to power after the assassination of strongman Park Chung-hee, he was the first general to restore his powers peacefully but remains one of the most hated figures in the country. He was nicknamed “the butcher of Gwangju” for the at least 200 dead in the brutal suppression of a revolt in the southwest of the country. In 1983 he escaped a bomb attack in Myanmar by 007 North Koreans.

In 1996 he was sentenced to death for high treason, including in connection with the Gwangju massacre, but his execution was commuted on appeal and he was later released thanks to a presidential pardon.