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Ex-president gave orders to conscript student left

Dec 19,2005
A committee investigating questionable deeds committed by the military in the past announced yesterday that a special project in the 1980s, in which leftist college students in trouble with the military dictatorship were sent to perform military service in front line units, was initiated by ex-President Chun Doo Hwan.
An official with the committee said yesterday that the investigation revealed the former president gave a verbal order in April of 1981 to the defense minister to draft students who participated in anti-government protests at the time.
The Defense Security Command, the military’s branch responsible for intelligence as well as internal security, compiled a list of 1,121 college students who were marked by the government as troublemakers and then sent more than 1,100 of them to fulfill their military service at the De-Militarized Zone, after coordinating with other government organizations.
In 1988, when the government first investigated the case, the number of college students on the government’s “black list” was initially announced as 447, and only 265 were said to have been drafted.
The committee further revealed that drafted students were sent to front line units regardless of their specialties and were continuously monitored by personnel from the security command.
Some students under conscription age or who didn’t meet the physical requirements for military service and so should have been exempted from military service were still drafted.
The special project was run by the government from September 1982 to December 1984 and left six people dead from mysterious causes.
The committee’s announcement is only a mid-term report and its investigation is expected to continue. No compensation has yet been given to the victims as the committee is still searching for a detailed list of those affected.


by Brian Lee


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