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South Korean Prosecutor Urges Chun's Death Penalty Be Upheld

November 15, 1996| From Reuters

SEOUL — South Korean prosecutors Thursday demanded an appeals court uphold a death sentence on former President Chun Doo Hwan for staging a 1979 coup and ordering a massacre to quell resistance.

Prosecutors also called on the court to extend to life in prison a 22 1/2-year jail sentence imposed on former President Roh Tae Woo in August.

At the appeals court, an angry judge dismissed as a witness a third former president, Choi Kyu Hah, an ailing recluse who had refused to answer prosecution questions after being forced to attend.

Choi, 77, caretaker head of state for 10 turbulent months between the assassination of President Park Chung Hee in October 1979 and Chun's grab for power, holds many of the secrets of the dramatic events surrounding the coup but has stubbornly ignored demands to testify.

Chun was convicted of leading the coup, ordering a massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in May 1980 in the southern city of Kwangju and amassing a slush fund worth hundreds of millions of dollars from corporate payoffs.

Roh was sentenced on similar charges of mutiny, treason and bribery. Both are appealing the verdicts.

Prosecutors also demanded jail sentences of 10 years to life for 14 former aides to Roh and Chun appearing in the same appeals court.

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