Five sentenced over Doha mall fire

Qatari court gives jail terms to five over last year's blaze at Villaggio mall, which killed 19, including 13 children.

    A Qatari court has sentenced five people to jail terms in connection with a deadly mall fire in the capital Doha last year.

    The five were convicted on Thursday of negligence, that resulted in the death of 19 people.

    Four received six-year jail terms, while the fifth received a five-year term. All five are currently out on appeal, and will remain out of custody until the appeals process is completed. Court officials told Al Jazeera the appeals process was expected to last between eight and 12 months.

    At least 19 people, including 13 children and two firefighters, were killed in the blaze at the Villaggio shopping mall in May 2012.

    Those convicted include two co-owners of the nursery and daycare centre which was engulfed by the flames, and members of the management of the mall. Sheikh Ali Bin Jassim Al Thani, one of the co-owners, is also currently Qatar's ambassador to Belgium, while Iman al-Kuwari, the other co-owner, is the daughter of Qatar's culture minister.

    Two other defendants, including the mall's assistant manager and head of security, were cleared of all charges.

    Al Jazeera's Mereana Hond, reporting from the court, said that the families of the victims had "a very profound reaction" to the verdict, with most describing feelings "of elation and relief".

    "They believe that justice has been served [...] and the right people have been found guilty," reported Hond.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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