Former South Korean President Roh Tae-woo to get state funeral

Seoul, Oct 27 (EFE).- The South Korean Government announced Wednesday that recently deceased former President Roh Tae-woo will get a state funeral, in recognition of his role in establishing relations with North Korea and the Communist bloc.

The funeral will be held over five days starting Saturday, however, the location of Roh’s final resting place is yet to be decided.

Roh Tae-woo, South Korea’s first democratically president after the end of military rule in the country, died on Tuesday at the age of 88.

Roh, who won the presidential elections in December 1987 and governed between 1988 and 1993, had recently been admitted to a hospital due to deteriorating health.

The Cabinet needed to hold discussions on the issue of state funeral for Roh due to his role in the 1979 coup and the brutal repression of pro-democracy protests in the city of Gwangju in 1980.

However, during his presidency, Roh is remembered for overseeing South Korea’s preparations for the 1988 Summer Olympic Games held in Seoul.

After the transition to democracy, in which Roh played a key role, he also attempted distance himself from both his military background and his ties with Chun Doo-hwan.

In August 1996, Roh was convicted of corruption and mutiny for their role in the December 1979 military coup and the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests in the city of Gwangju in May 1980.

Roh was sentenced to 17 years in prison but was released in December 1997 following a presidential pardon by then-President Kim Young-sam.

As per South Korean law, former presidents are entitled to a state funeral, but it does not specify whether if they retain that right in case they are convicted of a serious crime.

Several parliamentarians from the ruling Democratic Party have expressed opposition to the government’s decision to hold a state funeral for Roh.

On the other hand, hundreds of people attended Wednesday the funeral rites in memory of the former president at the Seoul’s National University Hospital.

During the ceremony, the former president’s son, Roh Jae-heon read his last will, in which he asked for forgiveness for his “mistakes and responsibility,” especially in connection to the 1980 democratic movement in Gwangju. EFE


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