The captain of the Sewol ferry that sank in April has been convicted of gross negligence and jailed for 36 years.
Lee Joon-Seok, 69, was acquitted of homicide, for which he could have been executed, the BBC reported.
The South Korean vessel went down with the loss of more than 300 lives, many of them schoolchildren.
Judges accepted his negligence in abandoning the sinking ferry did not equal an intent to kill.
Sewol’s chief engineer, Park Gi-ho, received 30 years for homicide for not assisting two injured crew.
The remaining 13 surviving crew members were found guilty and given terms of between five and 20 years on various charges including criminal negligence and accidental homicide, the Guardian said.
AFP reported that a woman screamed in court: “It’s not fair. What about the lives of our children? They [the defendants] deserve worse than death.”
A South Korean investigation found the accident was caused by a combination of cargo overloading, illegal redesign of the ship and poor helmsmanship during a turn.
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