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south korea ferry disaster

South Korean ferry captain may get death penalty

South Korean prosecutors are asking that Lee Joon-seok, the captain of the South Korean ferry that sank in April, be given the death penalty. The ferry disaster killed more than 300 passengers.

Joon-seok, 68, along with three other crew members, was indicted in May on homicide charges for negligence and failure to rescue passengers. He is on trial in the Gwangju District Court in southern South Korea. Prosecutors requested life sentences for the other three key crew members. An additional 11 crew members are on trial, with prosecutors asking for them to be given sentences of up to 30 years.

Joon-seok "made no rescue efforts" for the passengers after leaving the ship, according to the Yonhap news agency, effectively abandoning his passengers, some of which were left trapped on board.

The crew members will be sentenced in November. While South Korea allows the death penalty, it hasn't been used since 1997.