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South Korea: Court drops charges on decades-old clashes

Many of those acquitted are aged between 85 to 99 years

  | 17.01.2019
South Korea: Court drops charges on decades-old clashes

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ANKARA  

A court in South Korea on Thursday dismissed charges against more than a dozen survivors of a government-civilian clash that took place seven decades ago, local media reports said.

Eighteen people walked out of the courtroom -- some on wheelchairs -- smiling and in tears, Yonhap news agency reported.

They had sought retrial last year claiming they were 'wrongfully convicted' for rebelling against the then-government in South Korea.

The majority of the acquitted have claimed that they were arbitrarily arrested by then military police, interrogated and tortured before being “forced to sign a forged statement confessing to crimes".

Some 25,000 to 30,000 people were massacred in Jeju Island between 1948-1954 in clashes between the government and civilians, a 2003 report by the state said.

A total of 2,530 were convicted in connection with the massacre.

The latest ruling by a Seoul court quashed convictions handed down by a military court in 1949.

Last year, President Moon Jae-in issued an apology to the victims and vowed to provide them with every support and to retrieve the remains of the missing.

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