Ex-President Chun Doo-hwan 'Unfit for Trial' with Dementia

  • By Kim Sung-hyun

    August 27, 2018 12:34

    The wife of ex-president Chun Doo-hwan on Sunday said her husband is unfit to stand trial for defamation because he has advanced dementia.

    In his memoirs published last year, Chun claimed that the activist priest Cho Chul-hyun was lying when he said he witnessed soldiers firing at citizens from helicopters during the bloody suppression of the Gwangju Uprising against Chun's military regime in 1980.

    But Lee Soon-ja said in a statement issued through a lawyer, "Judging by the physical health of my husband, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, attending a trial will be impossible."

    The charges were brought by the priest's nephew because Cho died in 2015. Korea is one of a few countries that recognize a charge of defaming the dead.

    Chun Doo-hwan

    There were rumors that Chun would appear in court in Gwangju on Monday, but Lee said her husband "was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2013 and has been taking medication." She claimed Chun (87) "has problems remembering things that just happened."

    "The public probably does not want to see a former president of this country appearing in court and repeating incoherent comments and giving irrelevant answers," she speculated.

    More implausibly, Lee also claimed that her husband's Alzheimer's disease was caused by his hunger strike when he was jailed years ago and due to prosecutors investigating him. Lee said Chun went on hunger strike for 28 days when he was jailed in 1995 for his role in the Gwangju massacre and was hospitalized. She added that a doctor told her Chun may have suffered brain damage from fasting.

    She said he suffered memory loss and mental distress when prosecutors raided his house and the homes of his family in 2013 to confiscate his assets to pay for the hundreds of billions of won he owes in fines.

    "He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease after that incident," Lee said.

    The Gwangju District Court decided to proceed with the trial as he failed to submit a letter of excuse or request to reschedule, and may compel him to attend.

    Ex-President's Son Doing Hard Labor in Wonju Prison
    Judgment Collects More of Disgraced Ex-President's Fine
    Disgraced Ex-President's Son 'Can't Afford' Fine
    U.S. Seizes Assets of Disgraced Korean Ex-President
    Chun Doo-hwan's Son Owns Prime Real Estate in U.S.
    Chun Doo-hwan's Trinkets to Go Under the Hammer
    State Seizure of Illegal Wealth to Get Easier
    Another W7.6 Billion Seized from Chun Doo-hwan
    Ex-Daewoo Chief Back in Korea
    Chun Doo-hwan's Family Sorry for Failing to Pay Fine
    Chun Doo-hwan's Family to Pay Up
    Chun Doo-hwan to Pay Remaining Fine
    Chun Doo-hwan's Family Inching Closer to Paying Fine
    Prosecutors Grill Chun Doo-hwan's Son
    Roh Tae-woo Clears Fine at Last
    Ex-President Hospitalized with Hypertension
    Chun Doo-hwan's Front Yard Impounded
    In-Laws of Chun Doo-hwan's Son Caught in Dragnet
    Can One Disgraced President Learn from Another?
    Chun Doo-hwan Won't Follow Successor's Example and Pay Up
    Ex-President Roh Tae-woo to Pay Remainder of Massive Fine
    Chun Doo-hwan's Brother-in-Law Arrested
    Prosecutors Dig Up W6 Billion Worth of Ex-President's Assets
    Account Books, Jewelry of Chun and Family Found in Bank Vault
    Key Figure in Chun Doo-hwan Asset Concealment Slips the Net
    350 Artworks Confiscated from Chun Doo-hwan's Son
    Prosecutors Find Empty Safe in Ex-President's House
    Disgraced Ex-President's Family Under Travel Ban
    Prosecutors Raid Home of Disgraced Ex-President
    New Bill Tightens Net Around Disgraced Ex-President
    Ex-President's Son Set Up Paper Company in Tax Haven
    Ex-President 'Can't Pay' Astronomical Fine
    Another Disgraced Ex-President to Tell All in Print
    Ex-President Spills Beans About Political Slush Funds
    Ex-President Pays Minimal Part of Astronomical Fine
    How Roh Can Be Charged with Taking Bribes
    Kim Young-sam 'Took Billions from Roh Tae-woo'
    • Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com
    Previous Next
    All Headlines Back to Top