A South Korean court has extended the 36 year jail sentence originally imposed on the captain of the sunken Sewol ferry to that of life imprisonment. The new sentence was in response to a murder charge for abandoning over 300 passengers and crew members who perished with the overturned ferry in April 2014. At his original trial in November, Captain Lee Joon-seok was charged with a number of crimes including homicide and attempted homicide, but eventually found guilty of criminal negligence. When appealing this sentence, prosecutors asked for the death penalty as they argued that he was aware that those abandoned on board would die.
It is of note that the captain's advanced age (70 at the time of the latest sentencing) means that the new verdict is unlikely to change his situation much. It remains to be seen if his legal team will appeal to the supreme court. Lee has maintained that he was "confused" at the time of the incident and had not deliberately left those on board to die.
The appeals court also passed judgement on the sentences of 14 other crew members involved in the incident - reducing the original sentenced (that ranged from five to 30 years) to lesser times of between 18 months and 12 years of prison time.