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Victims of Chun's 1980 Gwangju crackdown file damage suit against gov't

National 15:26 November 24, 2021

SEOUL, Nov. 24 (Yonhap) -- Victims of the brutal crackdown on a 1980 pro-democracy uprising in the southwestern city of Gwangju have launched a damage suit against the government, a lawyer's group announced Wednesday, a day after the death of former President Chun Doo-hwan accused of ordering the crackdown.

Lawyers for a Democratic Society said it has filed the suit on behalf of 70 people who were subject to brutal violence by soldiers during the democracy protests in May 1980 in Gwangju, 329 kilometers south of Seoul, a day after the former strongman died at age 90 from chronic ailments.

Chun, an ex-Army general who seized power in a military coup in 1979, ordered his troops to ruthlessly quell the pro-democracy civil uprising. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1996 but received a presidential pardon the following year.

Chun had faced widespread condemnation over his repeated denial of responsibility.

"It is regretful he died without being held accountable, apologizing or expressing remorse," the group said at a press conference.

Survivors and family members also vented frustration over Chun's death without apology. "I hope that the family apologizes before his funeral," a surviving family of a late victim said.

Maj. Gen. Chun Doo-hwan announces the results of the investigation of the assassination of President Park Chung-hee in Seoul, in this file photo dated Nov. 6, 1979. After leading the probe under emergency martial law, Chun became president in 1980 and ran the country until 1988. Chun, a general-turned strongman who seized power through the coup and ruthlessly quelled a pro-democracy civil uprising in the southwestern city of Gwangju in 1980, died on Nov. 23, 2021, aides said. He was 90. (Yonhap)

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