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(LEAD) Prosecution demands death sentence for Sewol captain

2014/10/27 17:22

GWANGJU, Oct. 27 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors sought the death sentence Monday for the captain of the sunken ferry Sewol for abandoning passengers at the time of the deadly sinking.

Lee Joon-seok, the 68-year-old skipper, was indicted on charges of murdering more than 300 passengers as he left them behind while he was the first to be rescued when the ill-fated ship was sinking off South Korea's southern coast on April 16.

"The captain, as the man in charge of the ferry Sewol, abandoned his duty that he should not leave the ship until every passenger has left the ship," said a prosecutor during a trial at the Gwangju District Court in this southern city.

Prosecutors also asked the court to sentence three crew members, including the first mate surnamed Kang, to life in prison for the same charge.

Prison terms ranging from 15 years to 30 years were demanded against 11 other crew members, including the first engineer surnamed Sohn, who have been charged with abandonment and violation of a ship safety act.

Prosecutors largely blamed Lee and the 14 crew members, saying that the victims were told to stay put while the captain and crew hurriedly left the sinking ferry.

The court is scheduled to deliver rulings on the 15 people early next month, according to court officials.

Of the total number of people on board, only 174 were rescued while the others, mostly high school students on a school trip, perished with some 10 people still listed as missing.



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