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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Source: Villaggio fire hearing to take place on Thursday

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The criminal hearing to determine responsibility for the 19 people killed in the Villaggio fire will take place on Thursday and the families of the victims will be represented by legal counsel, one of the parents of the 13 children who died in the May 28 fire told Doha News.

Some eight people, including a woman, will be on trial, the Peninsula reports.

The court case was originally set for September, but was postponed when representatives of two of the three defendants did not show up.

Defendants

Qatar has not released the details of who exactly is being charged and for what crimes. But shortly after the fire, the attorney general ordered the detention of four Villaggio mall management officials and Iman Al Kuwari, the Qatari owner of Gympanzee, for questioning.

Kuwari is presumably being charged for operating Gympanzee as a nursery without proper licensing and the prosecution is likely charging the mall management for not having adequate safety measures in place and for negligence. A source at Villaggio told Doha News that the Municipality is also on trial.

During last month’s hearing, representatives of the mall turned out, but no one from the Municipality or Gympanzee was present.

Dissatisfaction

The families of the children who were killed have repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with how the tragedy has been handled in Qatar. 

A lack of transparency into the fire investigation, the reopening of Villaggio mall last month without acknowledgment of what transpired there and a lack of communication between Qatar and the parents are among the major concerns, they say. 

The Peninsula reports:

The parents of the deceased children had turned out in full force on September 6 barring two of them (who were out of Qatar at the time) at Al Sadd court premises.

It is expected that they would be present during the October 11 hearing as well, though they expressed reservations about the charges filed by the Public Prosecution.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Dan

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