Qatar sentences five to six years in prison over Villagio fire

Qatari ambassador to Belgium amongst the sentenced for fire that killed 19 in May 2012

A Qatari court has found five people, including a member of the Royal Family, responsible for the Villagio Mall fire.

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A Qatari court has sentenced five people, among them the country’s envoy to Belgium, to six years in prison over ‘negligence’ that caused a deadly fire that killed 19 people at the Villagio Mall in Doha.

According to a report by Al Jazeera, the defendants will have the right to appeal, and will remain out of custody until the end of that process, which could last a year.

The mall fire on May 28, 2012, saw 19 people killed, including 13 children, four teachers and two fire-fighters. Among the children who died were triplets from New Zealand and three Spanish siblings. All the victims were expatriates.

Investigators said last year that the fire was caused by an electrical fault. It had broken out next to the unlicensed Gympanzee nursery in the mall.

Amongst the accused is Sheikh Ali Bin Jassim al-Thani, co-owner of the nursery and Qatar’s ambassador to Belgium. The rest include a second co-owner of the nursery and members of the mall’s management team, who were unnamed.

According to the pan-Arab broadcaster, two other defendants – the mall’s assistant manager and head of security – were cleared of all charges.



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