Aug. 21 (UPI) -- South Korean survivors of killings that took place during an anti-communist crackdown in 1948 are to receive more than $4 million in compensation for wrongful imprisonment following the Jeju massacre.
Victims wrongfully charged with insurrection at the time, then thrown in jail for defying violent paramilitary forces, are to be awarded $4.4 million in damages, local news services Newsis and Donga Ilbo reported Wednesday.
The decision to award the victims came from the Jeju District Court, following a plaintiffs' suit filed Feb. 22. The 18 plaintiffs, which includes family members, had been acquitted more than 70 years after imprisonment.
On Wednesday the court said it decided on the compensation after taking into consideration the "historical significance" of the April 3 Jeju Massacre and the guidelines provided in South Korea's Criminal Indemnity Act.
The violence began on April 3, 1948, when South Korean military police fired at demonstrators after Jeju residents refused to vote in a U.N.-backed election. The crackdown began as retaliation for armed guerrilla attacks on police boxes.
South Korea's Jeju 4.3 Peace Foundation has said rebel fighters who supported communism were responsible for about 10 percent of all deaths. Anti-communist paramilitary forces who retaliated carried out the majority of the killings.
The compensation is to be distributed among the plaintiffs, with some plaintiffs to receive more money than others. Compensation per plaintiff ranges from $66,000 to $1.2 million, according to reports.
The court also took into consideration the current minimum wage rate to arrive at the number, multiplying the daily rate for minimum wage by five, then multiplying the number by the number of days imprisoned.
Survivors of imprisonment were typically jailed from the fall of 1948 to July 1949 on Jeju island.
South Korean courts have said military courts at the time "did not go through procedure prescribed by law."