World News

Jun 10, 2014 12:06 PM

Crew Members of Ferry in Court

SOUTH KOREA - Fifteen crew members from the sunken South Korean ferry pleaded their case at a district court in South Korea on Tuesday, while the families of the hundreds of people who died in the disaster protested outside.

Kim Byung-kwon, the representative of the families of the victims, called for the death penalty for the crew of the Sewol.

The Captain and three other crew members are charged with homicide - a charge that could carry the death penalty, though South Korea has not executed anyone since late 1997.

Prosecutors accuse them of tacitly colluding to abandon the ship while being aware that the passengers would be trapped and killed when the ship sank.

All surviving crew members responsible for the ship's navigation have been charged with negligence and with failing to do their duty to protect passengers.

The captain's lawyer said the factors that caused the sinking couldn't be controlled by a captain who operated the ferry only six days a month as a contract worker.

The lawyer said the captain didn't flee the ship, tried to correct the ferry's balance and asked people to wear life vests, even though he was injured.

Members of the crew have claimed that after evacuating the ship they stayed with the Coast Guard and helped to rescue the passengers.

Nearly two months after the sinking, 292 bodies have been recovered and 12 people are still missing.

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