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Ex-President Chun to be tried in Gwangju for defaming the dead

Former President Chun Doo-hwan will be tried in Gwangju on Monday for defaming the dead in his memoir.

In his book published in April last year, Chun called the late Catholic priest Cho Bi-oh “Satan disguised as a priest,” accusing him of lying that he saw military helicopters shooting at people during the 1980 pro-democracy uprising in Gwangju.

The former Army general, who was president from 1980 to 1988, was indicted without detention in early May for defamation of the deceased.

Former President Chun Doo-hwan (Yonhap)
Former President Chun Doo-hwan (Yonhap)

The Gwangju District Court held a pre-trial conference Wednesday and did not accept Chun’s request to have the trial held elsewhere.

Chun’s claim that his case is outside of Gwangju’s jurisdiction was also not accepted.

Chun’s lawyer asked for the trial to be held in Seoul where he resides, citing health reasons and claiming that Gwangju has no jurisdiction over his case.

Chun had asked the court in May to delay the trial.

The accused is required to be present in a criminal trial, but the former president is unlikely to attend the trial, citing old age and the earlier appeal for delay.

Chun was sentenced to death in 1996 for his role in the Gwangju pro-democracy uprising, during which hundreds of protesters were killed in the southwestern city in May 1980, but he was later pardoned.

By Kim So-hyun (