Hostile Families Confront Crew of Korea Ferry, Cry 'Murderer'

Emotions run wild at pre-trial hearing for 15 crew members
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2014 12:04 PM CDT
Hostile Families Confront Crew of Korea Ferry, Cry 'Murderer'
A family member of a passenger aboard the sunken ferry Sewol cries after a pretrial hearing of ferry crew members at Gwangju District Court, South Korea, Tuesday, June 10, 2014.   (Ahn Young-joon)

Grief-wracked family members of the 300-plus souls lost in the sinking of the South Korean ferry Sewol today aimed their rage squarely at the 15 crewmembers accused of negligence, as the reeling country held a pre-trial hearing in the April 16 disaster. The AP describes "hostile spectators" who cried, cursed, and shouted as the crew entered court, while Reuters notes that shouts of "murderer" rang out as the ferry's captain, Lee Joon-seok, passed by. "Everybody should be sentenced to death," said one crowd member. Eleven of the 15 pleaded not guilty; the rest will enter pleas in a week.

Crew members, many of whom wore yellow ribbons in honor of the dead, have said that they panicked as the boat was sinking, "so they didn't know what to do or couldn't save the passengers," said one sobbing mom. "But during that time, our children were crying as they called their parents and said they were scared." One crew member was crying so hysterically that the AP notes she couldn't give her name to the judges. But any remorse isn't exactly assuaging a vengeful public, to such an extent that many worry the crew can't get a fair trial. "It is a burden for every lawyer, because the crime is something that can hardly be forgiven," says a lawyer representing one of the 15. (Read more South Korea stories.)

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