Doha fire hearing postponed again

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 07:53 24/10/2012
Qatar mall fire
Reuters

MALL FIRE: Nineteen were killed in the blaze in Doha.

the Weekes triplets
TRAGIC LOSS: Triplets Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, who were killed in a mall fire in Qatar in May.

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A hearing to determine responsibility for the Doha mall fire in which 19 people died, including Wellington triplets, has been postponed for a third time.

The two-year-old triplets Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes were among 13 children who died in the Villaggio Mall blaze on May 28.

An official report found the fire started in  faulty wiring within a fluorescent light in a Nike store, from which smoke spread rapidly to the neighbouring Gympanzee nursery.

The latest delay in the court hearing was because Gympanzee co-owner Iman al Kuwari - the daughter of Qatar's minister of culture arts and heritage - did not attend, Doha News reported.

The court had now decided it would go ahead on November 13, whether or not she showed up.

All other defendants, including Gympanzee's co-owner and Al Kuwari's husband Sheikh Ali Bin Jassim Al Thani, who is Qatar's Ambassador to Belgium, as well as representatives of Villaggio, an insurance company, the Ministry of Business and Trade and Civil Defence, were present.

Officials said Al Kuwari would be presented with another notice to turn up to court or appoint a representative. If she failed to show up at next month's hearing, a verdict would be issued in her absence.

Several family members of the victims who attended the hearing were visibly upset by the adjournment, Doha News said.

"I thought this was a priority," said Louie Aban, husband of Maribel Orosco, one of four teachers killed in the fire. "But it's not a priority."

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