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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - BUCHAREST — A Romanian court on Monday handed jail terms to 13 people over a 2015 nightclub fire that killed 64 and brought down the prime minister after protests over corruption.
The court also ordered payment of around 50 million euros ($56 million) in compensation to the survivors and the families of the victims.
The Bucharest nightclub was packed with some 400 revelers — many of them youngsters — at a rock concert when fireworks were let off, triggering a blaze and stampede.
The club did not have any emergency exits.
Investigations pointed to numerous breaches of safety regulations at the club, which critics saw as emblematic of the corruption and lax standards holding back one of the European Union's poorest nations.
The fireworks organizer was sentenced to 12 years and eight months in prison for involuntary manslaughter as her company didn't have the required permits.
The nightclub's three owners got 11 years and eight months in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
Two technicians who set up the fireworks, two fire safety inspectors and a Bucharest district mayor who cleared the club to operate despite the safety issues received jail of up to 10 years.
Another four people involved got shorter jail terms.
All those convicted will remain free pending their appeal.
The mass anti-government protests sparked by the tragedy led to the resignation of Social Democratic Prime Minister Victor Ponta.
Although 26 died at the site, and nearly 200 were injured, another 38 died later, casting a negative spotlight on Romania's emergency services and health system.
A former health minister stands accused of having delayed, and even blocked, the transfer of burns victims abroad. They subsequently died in ill-equipped Romanian hospitals. An inquiry into that is still ongoing. — AFP
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