On Tuesday, an appellate court in Gwangju, South Korea, convicted the captain of a ferry that sank a year ago, killing 300 students and other passengers, of "murder through willful negligence," and sentenced him to life in prison. Last year, a lower court had acquitted the captain, Lee Joon-seok, of homicide but sentenced him to 36 years in jail for lesser charges.
Fourteen other crew members of the Sewol were given sentences of between 1.5 and 12 years; the chief engineer actually received a reduced sentence, from 30 years to 10 years.
"Because of Capt. Lee's irresponsible behavior, many young students died without their lives blossoming," said the presiding judge, Seo Kyong-hwan. "His conduct, which helped send the country's national prestige crashing down, can never be forgiven." Lee, 70, and his co-defendants can appeal the verdicts to South Korea's Supreme Court.
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