The man deemed responsible for the deaths of over 300 people -a lot of them schoolchildren- in last year’s ferry disaster has been given a life sentence by an appellate court.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for the man, but last November, ferry captain Lee Joon-seok was sentenced to 36 years in prison for negligence and abandoning passengers in need. The court acquitted him of homicide, however. The verdict caused uproar, and victims’ relatives said it was too lenient.
Lee and 14 other crew members were among the first to be rescued, while no evacuation order was given. In fact, orders issued through loudspeakers encouraged passengers to remain inside their cabins. As a result, more than 300 people drowned.
The appellate court also sentenced 14 other navigation crew members to prison terms ranging from 18 months to 12 years, the statement said. In November, they had received sentences of five to 30 years in prison.