Qatar jails five over deadly shopping mall fire

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A Qatari court on Thursday sentenced five people, among them the emirate’s envoy to Belgium, to six years in prison over “negligence” that caused a deadly shopping mall blaze last year, Al-Jazeera reported.

All the 19 people killed in the inferno at Doha’s Villagio mall on May 28, 2012, were foreigners, including 13 children, four teachers and two firefighters.

Among the children who died were triplets from New Zealand and three Spanish siblings.

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

The five defendants have the right to appeal and will remain out of custody until the end of that process - which could last a year, Al-Jazeera reported on its English-language website.

The convicts included Sheikh Ali Bin Jassem al-Thani, a co-owner of the nursery from the ruling family and Qatar’s ambassador to Belgium, the pan-Arab broadcaster said, citing one of its reporters at the court.

The rest of them included a second co-owner of the nursery and members of the mall's management, who were unnamed.

The report said that two other defendants - the mall’s assistant manager and head of security - were cleared of all charges.

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