Seoul: Lashing out at the South Korean ferry Sewol's captain for abandoning his duty aboard the ship that sank in April killing hundreds of students, the prosecutors on Monday demanded that he be handed death sentence.
The 68-year-old captain of the ill-fated ship, Lee Joon-seok, has been charged with homicide as he was at the helm of ferry ship that sank with more than 300 people on board on April 16 this year.
The captain was one of the first to have been rescued leaving hundreds of passengers aboard, most of them being high school students who were teenagers.
Justifying the demand for death sentence, the prosecutors said that the captain and the crew had left the ship, leaving all passengers to sink.
"The captain, as the man in charge of the ferry Sewol, abandoned his duty that he should not leave the ship until every passenger has left the ship," the Yonhap news agency quoted a prosecutor as saying during the trial at the Gwangju District Court.
Also, the prosecutors asked the court to sentence three crew members, including the first mate surnamed Kang, to life in prison for the same charge, the report added.
"He made excuses and lied. He showed no repentance... and so we ask for the death sentence," the AFP quoted a prosecutor as saying.
Making their case, the prosecutors said that the captain had left the ship “without making any efforts to rescue passengers", AFP reported.
The trial against the ferry captain and other crew members started in June, and what added to the outrage was the testimony by various survivors according to which they were prohibited to move from their positions until told to do so.
Only 174 people out of more than 400 passengers were rescued in the aftermath of the ferry disaster which drew intense criticism for the government and ship officials.