Former South Korean dictator Chun Doo-hwan dies

Former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan has died at the age of 90, his former press aide said on Tuesday.

A former military commander, Chun seized power in the coup of 1979 and then ruled the country with an iron fist.

He presided over the 1980 Gwangju army massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators.

He was later charged with mutiny, treason and was arrested after refusing to appear at the prosecutors' office and fleeing to his hometown.

During his trial in the mid-1990s, he defended the coup as necessary to save the nation from a political crisis and denied sending troops into Gwangju.

In what was dubbed the "trial of the century" by local media, Chun was found guilty of mutiny, treason and bribery and sentenced to death.

In their verdict, judges said Chun's rise to power came "through illegal means which inflicted enormous damage on the people."

The ruling was, however, commuted by Seoul's High Court in recognition of Chun's role in the fast-paced economic development of the country and the peaceful transfer of the presidency in 1988.

His story didn't end there and he made several returns to the spotlight.

In 2003, he sparked outrage when he claimed he had assets of just 245 U.S dollars in cash, two dogs and home appliances despite owing over 185 million U.S dollars in fines.

Last year he was also found guilty for defaming a late democracy activist and Catholic priest in his 2017 memoirs.

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