Captain in South Korea Ferry Disaster Sentenced to 36 Years in Prison

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Photo: ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

A judge has sentenced Lee Jun-seok, the captain of the South Korean ferry that sank in April, to 36 years in prison because he “abandoned his passengers, knowing that they were waiting for instructions from the crew and that if they were not evacuated, their lives would be at risk.” However, the 69-year-old captain was not found guilty of murdering the 304 people who died onboard, which could have resulted in the death penalty. The court concluded that Lee had issued an evacuation order, though many say they only remember being repeatedly told to stay on the ship. Fifteen other crew members were given sentences of 5 to 30 years, enraging the families of the victims, many of whom were teenagers. Several relatives shouted at the judge, and one father yelled, “Why don’t you just free them so we can punish them ourselves?”

South Korea Ferry Captain Sentenced to 36 Years