Captain Lee Joon-seok was recently sentenced to 36 years in prison for gross negligence and dereliction of duty. These charge stem from abandoning his ship while the passengers, mostly high school students, remained trapped inside the vessel.
On Tuesday, Lee was joined by surviving crew members of the disaster to appeal their convictions in a Gwangju court .
The 15 members are asking a panel of judges to reduce their prison terms which range from five to 36 years.
Prosecutors also appealing –for harsher penalties
Prosecutors in the case, who feel that the sentences were too light, are also appealing for stronger punishment. They had originally called on the court to give the captain the death penalty for homicide, but instead he was convicted of negligence. They also wanted harsher punishment given to the crew.
The crew were the first to abandon ship during the April 2014 tragedy, after telling passengers to remain inside their cabins. This directly contributed to the death of 300 passengers in a tragedy that left the entire country outraged following a period national trauma.
Family member gathered outside the court Tuesday to monitor the proceedings.
“I hope that those who are responsible for this accident pay off their sins appropriately. Whenever I open the door of my son’s room, I still pray to God that my child might be sitting at his desk as he used to.
The court should have a ruling by the end of April.
What do you think the courts should do? Give your take in the comments section below.
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