Former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan received a suspended sentence of several months on Monday for defamation.
The 89-year-old former dictator was charged in May 2018 on charges of defaming Catholic priest and former democracy activist Cho Chul Hyun, who died in 2016 and wrongly calling him a liar in his memoirs published in 2017.
According to his own account, Hyun had seen gunshots being deliberately aimed at civilians from helicopters when the 1980 demonstrations in Gwangju were suppressed.
The Gwangju District Court sentenced Doo-hwan to eight months in prison with a two-year suspended sentence.
According to a statement from the court, the witness accounts of the helicopter gunfire, including those from Hyun, were considered credible.
The presiding judge was quoted by the news agency Yonhap as saying that, from his position during the events of May 18, 1980, Chun must have known about this.
The ex-president had called Cho a “liar” and “Satan.”
Chun, who led an authoritarian military regime from 1980-88, and his successor, Roh Tae Woo (1988-93), were convicted in August 1996 of a military coup in 1979, the bloody suppression of the democracy movement and corruption.
A year later they were pardoned.
In May 1980, students and citizens of the city in the south-west of the country demonstrated against the military coup and for the lifting of the state of emergency.
Their uprising was bloodily suppressed by the military.
According to official information, there were around 200 deaths, according to other information, however, there are more than 2,000 deaths.