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Monday, April 19, 2021

VIDEO: Two years on, pain still raw for Villaggio victims’ relatives

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Two years ago today, Qatar lost 19 of its residents in a fire at Villaggio Mall. They had died after being trapped in an upstairs childcare center inside the shopping complex.

Thirteen of those killed were small children, four were employees of the Gympanzee nursery, and two were firefighters trying to save everyone.

A year ago, following 17 court sessions that began in June 2012 and concluded in June 2013, a Doha court ruled that five people should be held responsible for those deaths.

That includes the owners of the nursery, the chairman and the manager of Villaggio Mall and a Ministry of Business and Trade official who signed Gympanzee’s commercial permit.

The defendants were ordered to serve five to six years in jail, and their insurance companies were told to pay QR200,000 in blood money for each victim who died.

Stalled justice

But the case has stalled since then. The appellate process began in September 2013, and is proceeding at a glacial pace.

The next hearing will be on June 9, as more witnesses will appear for cross-examination. The victims’ families are not hopeful that any closure will be reached before the court recesses for the summer.

Appeals court

None of the convicted individuals have started serving jail time, and at least one of the defendants has been free to travel outside Qatar.

Only a few families have received the blood money. Due to the high expense of paying for a lawyer, along with the consistent delay in court hearings, many families have had to cease legal representation.

Villaggio Mall

Meanwhile, Villaggio Mall appears to have returned to normal, bustling with activity and shoppers. A new extension is even planned for the facility, which continues to be run by the same management convicted of involuntary manslaughter for not ensuring the mall followed necessary safety precautions before the fire.

Two years later, Qatar’s ambassador to Belgium – the co-owner of Gympanzee – also retains his post as a diplomat, despite being ruled a convicted criminal by his country’s court system.

villaggio sign

That so much has returned to normal, while the court case drags on and the grief remains so fresh, has prompted many relatives to say they feel like they’re losing the fight for justice.

Still, they have made it clear that they will continue to push for accountability.

For those who wish to mark the two-year anniversary, a short public memorial is taking place today at 4:30pm at Aspire Park in honor of those who died.

Thoughts?


For an in-depth understanding of the Villaggio fire and its aftermath, download our 57-page ebook on the subject here.

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Guest
Guest
6 years ago

This is the latest update on the case. Kindly go through the article

http://www.raya.com/portal

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

This is the latest update on the case as on 28/05/2014.

PlanetCitizen
PlanetCitizen
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

Could someone translate this ??

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  PlanetCitizen

The titles say “The manager of Al-Rayyan Municipality was fined for not responding to the court in this case. Case delayed because he didn’t attend…” (What Shabina Said, plus he was fined)…
The rest is not clear enough…

Here’s an electronic version:

http://www.raya.com/news/pages/db20a68c-922e-4c9e-a379-078a8855e064

A Google translation (sorry):

For not responding to the court in the case of a fire Villagio
Criminal fines Director of Al Rayyan Municipality
Court calls for the director of the municipal certificate and postponed the case to hear witnesses
Senior Advisor engineering emphasizes safety alarm systems and smoke hoods

Books – Haitham igloo :

Criminal Court fined the director of Al Rayyan Municipality SR 500 for not responding to its request for a report on the status of the documents concerning the decoration of the Muslim civil defense in case of a fire Villagio , and requested to testify at the next hearing .

The court adjourned the appeal yesterday in the case of a fire Villaggio complex for the ninth session of June for non-attendance of a number of witnesses , after hearing the testimony of a large engineering advisers about whether the compound contains the hoods of the clouds of smoke .

The witness before the court that the suction system complex ” central ” pointing out that he received his duties after the fire, he detects the alarm systems and smoke hoods was in very good condition .

The session was chaired by HE Judge Mohammad Bouchaib Rafii , and the membership of the judge , Mr. Ibrahim al-Banna , and we judge Abul Fotouh .

The Court of First Instance ruled to punish the defendants first, second , third and fourth imprisonment for a period of 6 years from what was given to them by the accused and compel solidarity among themselves and solidarity with the insurance company to perform to the heirs of the victims parental legitimacy and reach two hundred thousand riyals for each deceased distributes them as apportioned legitimacy . The seventh defendant punished by imprisonment for a term of five years , and acquitted the accused fifth sixth defendant , which was given to them from the indictment refer the case to the civil court of competent civil .

According to the written judgment , the court held that the defendants first and second caused Bouktihma in the death of two victims , and that was caused by neglect and not taken into account the laws and regulations that hired accused the second of the third defendant, a shop started by the first defendant, her partner in the activity itself and its director and authorized her to sign Activity nursery that once the children of victims and without they meet the licensing and requirements prescribed for such activity and without their adherence to the conditions relating to public health , safety, and without having taken the precautions required in the workplace to protect workers and the workers in it and those who frequent it from the dangers of fire the shop the above statement in the workplace to protect workers and the workers in it and those who frequent it from the dangers of fire the shop and actually in place uninitialized and inappropriate activity and free means of natural ventilation , which led to trapping smoke from the fire building Villagio victims are all inside the headquarters of the nursery above statement , what led to the injury injuries described reports of forensic attached to securities that led to their deaths .

The court said that the first and second defendants and conducted the groundbreaking facility ( nursery ) otherwise the license issued to them, and without obtaining the approval of the relevant government agencies as described securities .

As regards the third defendant, the court said that in his capacity as a partner in the complex Villagio caused his mistake in the death of the victims and that was caused by neglect and lack of observance of the laws and regulations that the contract , which the Commissioner so with the accused a second lease a shop to create a nursery complex Villagio and conducted the first defendant that activity and labeled b “C Panzi ” before Astsaddaarhama licensing assessments for such activity and without taken the precautions required in the workplace to protect workers and the workers in it and swing it from the dangers of fire so as not to provide the means of security and fire safety in accordance with the materials used for interiors complex and without outfitted for the validity of the emergency exit to use it authorizing the use of the corridor leading to it as a store director in addition to his failure to supervise his subordinates on the work of maintenance of fire extinguishers to make it useable what led to the siege of smoke from the fire of the victims inside the headquarters of the nursery.

For the accused IV, said the rationale that, as a director of complex Villagio caused his mistake in the death of the victims and that was caused by neglect and lack of observance of the laws and regulations, including imposed upon the assets of his job by failing to take precautions necessary availability workplace to protect workers and the workers in it and swing it from the dangers of fire the shop and so not supplied the means of security and fire safety in accordance with the materials used interiors complex and without outfitted for the validity of the emergency exit for the use of authorizing the use of the corridor leading to the exit so as a store in addition to the lack of follow-up for the maintenance of fire extinguishers to make it useable what led to the siege of smoke from the fire of the victims earlier mentioned inside the headquarters of the nursery.

As for the accused VII, said the court that in his capacity as a public servant ( inspector at the Ministry of Business and Trade ) forged a document in a request business license number ( 36054 ) that has proved it otherwise the truth anyway to edit his words ( the shop satisfies the conditions ) and prepared to prove that the preview Vtm renewal license on the basis of the above statement that the preview despite her lack thereof , and non-compliance to the fact that it was during carrying out his function. She added: Whereas for two counts of Almsndtan for the accused first and the second has Antzmthma criminal plan and one committed for the purpose of a criminal one and been linked to each other intimately does not accept retail and then Court requires Baquba crime most of them in accordance with the provisions of Article ( 85 ) of the Penal Code .

Since the complex Villagio insured against fire ( the defendant the right to civil ) on the incident and entered in the case in accordance with the provisions of Article (21) of the Criminal Procedure Code and then court requires to compel defendants solidarity among themselves and solidarity with the defendant the right to civil perform parental legitimate heirs victims all deceased , and where it is on the subject of civil suit when he was adjudicated entails conducting a special investigation consequent postponement chapter in the criminal case , which requires him the court to refer the civil case to the competent civil court in accordance with the provisions of Article (23) of the Code of Criminal Procedure , For these reasons, the Court issued its previous ruling .

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

This is the latest update on the case as on 28/05/2014. Kindly go through it

QVision
QVision
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

Doha news, it appears that you are no longer reporting on the case, unlike the mainstream news outlets. Rather you are running a campaign against vilagio.

Shabina921
Shabina921
6 years ago
Reply to  QVision

We’ve been at every appellate hearing. Nothing new has happened to report on lately.

QVision
QVision
6 years ago
Reply to  Shabina921

Really Shabina ? Then provide your readers with a translation. I think you will find that the information does not support your agenda, indeed the proceedings appear to contradict almost everything you publish.

Shabina921
Shabina921
6 years ago
Reply to  QVision

The article states that the next witness to be called in June is the director of the Al Rayyan Municipality. This is the third time he’s been called, and he still hasn’t shown up. Please tell us what we’re missing.

QVision
QVision
6 years ago
Reply to  Shabina921

No Shabina, that is not what it says, would you really have everyone believe that you can summarise several paragraphs of accurate reporting, with two facile sentences. I guess you would.

Shabina921
Shabina921
6 years ago
Reply to  QVision

Please do tell everyone what you think we’re missing. It’s more productive than flinging accusations.

David
David
6 years ago
Reply to  QVision

Actually that’s what a summary is. A summary is a comprehensive and usually brief abstract, recapitulation, or compendium of previously stated facts or statements. A summary of several paragraphs shouldn’t be more than two or three sentences.

Ali
Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  QVision

If you know Arabic, why don’t you post translation here so everyone can read.

Jen
Jen
6 years ago
Reply to  QVision

I haven’t seen anything that shows Doahnews is running a campaign against Villagio. They have not said–do not go or commented on Villagio as a shopping outlet–they are just reporting on the case of the fire.

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

Thank you for sharing this, for this of us who do not understand Arabic can you point to a link in the English Qatar papers? Do you know if the Peninsular has covered it? If so I must have missed it as I read it almost every day ….

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Could you imagine other countries selecting someone who is a convicted criminal to serve as their ambassador overeas? What sort of image does that give Qatar? We are ok with criminals representing us and our interests. The mind boggles.

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

criminal?

The legal process isn’t complete, “The appellate process began in September 2013”. (It’s slow)

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Can you help me to understand why it is so slow when other cases such as the recent high profile murder was settled so quickly and apparently in a just manner? Can you help me to understand why the blood money has not been paid? I would have thought that was the least that could be done for these poor families.

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

1.Murder: somebody WANTED to kill somebody and DID.
2.If they’re found not guilty, they won’t have to pay it.

Gest
Gest
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

If the defendants are put in Jail during the appeal, then the legal process will fly…

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

He was convicted in a criminal court. At this moment and unless an appeal is successful he is considered guilty and therefore a criminal

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

OK.

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Osama, I don’t know why you even try with these people, Especially to the likes of MIMH,
Seriously they can’t do anything behind their keyboard and their views are all biased and
bigoted, Best thing to do is stop trying to reconcile and change their ultimate view of Qatar,
Ignorance is bliss to these kind of people, I swear :))

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Bigoted? Biased? How many of us around the world would have kept our jobs if we were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 6 years in jail? I guess you live in a different world of values to the rest of us.

Shabina921
Shabina921
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I think Anon is saying it’s not fair to ask Osama to speak on behalf of all Qataris.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Shabina921

I don’t think I was, just responding to his comment. I think some people are too sensitive.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Maybe I am being a little harsh as he may be found not guilty on appeal but they should have suspended him from his role until the outcome of the appeal is known.

kubaru
kubaru
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

With all due respect – are you happy with it? Do you think it project on your country as you would have wanted?

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  kubaru
osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  kubaru

No. Not at all, it was a very emotional day, and weeks… It seems this is a systematic error that spread …

Permits, building, business, trade, safety, security, …. it all went wrong, and nobody noticed it as it was happening…

You built a mall, get the cheapest materials… Do a cosmetic inspection of the firefighting equipment (a fire never happened)… Get the approvals.

You want to open a nursery… Your PRO will change a few words and issue a permit, you may not even know the details… you may even think you have an approved nursery… They told you to add your husband’s name to the papers, he was glad to sign for his wife and invest in her dreams…

Ignorance was bliss…

Now, I would care mostly about how we can make sure we do things correctly. We’ve been doing things the wrong way for so long.

kubaru
kubaru
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Thanks for the answer, but it isn’t quite what I have asked for. I understand how it happened, how general disregard for rules and procedures brought this about.

What I wanted to know is how do Qataris feel that a man convicted for his part in this tragedy serves as their representative abroad.

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago
Reply to  kubaru

Like s$&t… It’s embarrassing… I’ve actually been boycotting Villaggio mall and have not stepped into that building for more than a year now. I just feel sick entering a building in which children and others died. What is more, the owner of this building or mall is abroad and will probably benefit monetarily from my time in Villaggio.

Still not satisfied
Still not satisfied
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

I think you’re right that this is probably how the nursery got opened, but not everyone was ignorant, and it’s not true that nobody noticed it was happening.

From the Doha News report on the fire, which can be found here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/144078074/Villaggio-Fire-A-Tragedy-Silenced

“Meanwhile, testimony heard during the fire case showed that the government had been fining Villaggio mall repeatedly since 2008 for using a highly toxic, flammable paint in its mall decorations. According to one Civil Defense officer, the paint, once ignited, caused the fire and smoke to spread quickly. Sprinklers would have stopped the smoke, but they didn’t appear to be functioning.

Additionally, Villaggio officials did not respond to requests from the fire alarm and sprinkler system companies to perform much-needed maintenance on the mall equipment, as recently as the week of the fire. Officials also testified that fire-fighters were not properly trained to handle the fire.”

PREVENTABLE tragedy. And those “Villaggio officials” who didn’t respond to requests to service the equipment still hold their jobs.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

He’s a convicted criminal until such time as an appeal court finds him not guilty.

KK
KK
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Does the legal process ‘wants’ to be complete ?

AlanSDK
AlanSDK
6 years ago

my heart ache every time i read about this… May peace be with all victims and families.

Gest
Gest
6 years ago

Thank you DohaNews. It seems that you are the only Media that cares…

Please let me share this with all your viewers:

http://youtu.be/q4LFHCgyZ2k

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  Gest

feel so sad seeing this video…small cute kids…shame on those murderers who are roaming freely…if no justice here…Allah is watching all and for sure there is justice in his court

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago

I couldn’t agree more Saeed, I do hope that you are right.

Lisa Clayton
Lisa Clayton
6 years ago
Reply to  Gest

So heartbreaking…. I know that justice would be some measure of comfort but i don’t know how a parent ever gets over losing a child. I’m still crying like a baby from watching this :'(

Pete
Pete
6 years ago

Justice has a different definition according to whether you’re a ‘have’ or ‘have not’. And when you’re a ‘have more’ you simply choose your own definition. Unfortunately this applies all over the world.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago

Doha News. Why is there never a reference to the children who died at the hospital?

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago

Small kids became victim in this tragedy which happened in 2012 and now 2014 the murderers are still roaming freely…..God know “is honest justice over in this world”

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago

This is brave reporting Doha News, thank you, you should be proud.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago

I still see men in thobes smoking in Villagio and Landmark coffee shops Next time, I will call the police.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  outdoorsboys

why do you have to wait for next time…why not immediate..who ever it be whether men in thobe or shorts or what ever dress…also lots of females with cleavage, short dresses etc if you see make sure to call the police immediately

kubaru
kubaru
6 years ago

Yes, short dresses can kill if authorities are not involved immediately. And cleavages for sure are a serious health hazard.
It is tragic anniversary, man, get serious.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  kubaru

kubaru..agree to you….outdoorsboys comments…I still see men in thobes smoking in Villagio and Landmark coffee shops Next time, I will call the police….we are talking about tragedy here and not about smoking

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago

Saeed, perhaps the flash of cleavage might raise temperatures, but I doubt you would spontaneously combust. Cigarettes however, do cause fires which is one of the reasons there is a no smoking ban in place in Villagio. I stated ‘men in Thobes’ because that is who I have observed smoking, never anyone else. It is an arrogant flouting of the law, put in place to safeguard people. Yes, I shall call the police next time, because the staff employed in the Malls are , rightly, afraid to challenge ‘the men in thobes’.

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago

Errr smoking can cause fires. I think that’s exactly what we are talking about. Which, in turn leads to tragedy…

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

What have you put in your shisha? Better take a break from whatever if is.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Yes, short dresses and cleavage are known to be responsible for the majority of deaths in Qatar, especially children. Who will rid us of this evil menace to society? The police are too busy investigating other crimes when really they should be throwing stones at these women who lead us into temptation and therefore to hell.
Really, I think the police should arrest you for drug use.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  outdoorsboys

And the police will do about as much as they do on trying to reduce road deaths and trauma….

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago

Of course the pain is still raw and it will continue to be raw if nobody is going to pay for their crimes. To lose a child is bad enough as it is… I don’t know how the parents are going to move on or get closure…

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

The legal system in this country is honestly a joke. No consistency. If Qatar wants to be taken halfway seriously the rest of the world this needs to shape up in a big way. At this point the world scoffs.

Em
Em
6 years ago

Pleas should be made to the Belgian government to reject the current Qatari ambassador, on these grounds. I’m certain, at least in Belgium, the law holds sway.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Life is considered cheap in Qatar. I mean kids are admitted daily with serious injuries or die as a result of not wearing seat belts during a collision. Does anyone learn from this ….noooo

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago

does anyone know exactly where in Aspire Park the memorial is today?

Shabina921
Shabina921
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

Hi Michael, it will be at the big screen by the pond.

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago
Reply to  Shabina921

Thanks Shabina and time is 4.30 ?

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago

Why do people still smoke in Villagio, particularly outside Cafe Vergnano and sometimes Starbucks? Why do the proprietors of this cafe and the mall management allow this? Why after such a terrible tragedy is a blind eye turned to this?

Still not satisfied
Still not satisfied
6 years ago

Thank you, Doha News. We have not forgotten and will never forget the shock and then pain caused by the preventable loss of these precious lives. Today, many of us cry with the families who lost loved ones. And like them, we wait and hope that those whose criminal negligence caused these deaths will ultimately face consequences that match their crimes.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Disgraceful, particularly that the guilty are not in prison, nor restricted from leaving the country, nor have they lost a diplomatic post. Would an expat be so fortunate? How can the Qatari expect anyone to embrace their culture when such injustices, and the Kafala, simply reinforce the feeling of alienation that the expats have. The truth is they do know, but simply don’t care as long as it doesn’t affect their beloved WC2022..

Still not satisfied
Still not satisfied
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Yes, some expats are so fortunate. The mall manager, one of those convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 5 years in prison, is a British citizen of Greek descent. Despite the conviction, he is still the manager of Villaggio. This fact, more than the fact that a Qatari national convicted of the same crime is able to represent the state of Qatar as a diplomat, is really mind boggling. He was convicted of being criminally negligent in his job at a mall that had received numerous warnings from civil defense about its inoperable sprinkler system, amount other things, yet still holds that job.

KK
KK
6 years ago

Disgusting. Slow justice, yes for sure, but not for all.

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago

From reading the posts it seems that a lot of focus is on the fact that th case has been dealt with incredibly poorly. Today, our thoughts should be with the victims and their families. No conviction or amount of bloody money with heal the pain in the people hearts who lost their babies, spouses and siblings. I can’t ever imagine having to get over loosing my little girl. I really can’t ever imagine it….

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

As a father, I prefer not trying to imagine it… It’s incomprehensible to my mind… I still can’t imagine even replying to any of the parents’ posts.

I still say the same thing I said for the last two years, we need to fix the way we do things… It started to improve, but there’s so much left…

The way people respond to alarms, the delay in the airport are signs of improvement, the quicker road works without obstructing the streets, the outrage after the rain in the Salwa road tunnels… Mistakes will not be swept under the rug.

Check
Check
6 years ago

It breaks my heart to hear that the women thinks people have forgotten. I personally have not forgotten. I can’t imagine what these poor families have gone through for the past two years and feel helpless. I really hope that at some point they can find peace </3 .

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