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Court finishes verdict reading in Perm nightclub fire case

May 07, 2013, 15:22 UTC+3

The fire at the Lame Horse club broke out overnight to December 5, 2009, 156 people died and another 65 suffered serious serious harm to health

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PERM, May 7 (Itar-Tass) - The Lenin district court of Perm on Tuesday finished reading the verdict in the case over the fatal fire at the Khromaya Loshad /Lame Horse/ nightclub in 2009, prosecutor for the state Vadim Kazarinov told Itar-Tass.

"The verdict has been announced; the statements of claim and hard evidence are to remain attached to the case for now. The defendants will appeal, but the verdict is so voluminous that I cannot rule out it might happen in several months. Until that moment, the defendants will be kept in a pre-trial detention center," Kazarinov said.

The court announced the sentences on April 30. Among the persons found guilty by the court are de-facto owner of the club Anatoly Zak, executive director Svetlana Yefremova and art director Oleg Fetkulov. They were found guilty under Article 238, Part 3 of Russia's Criminal Code /provision of services that fail to meet the requirements for the safety of life or health of consumers, which resulted, through negligence, in the death of two or more persons/.

The firework show organizers, the Derbenev father and son, were found guilty of violating the rules for the use of explosives, flammable substances and pyrotechnic products, which caused deaths and serious harm to health.

Former chief regional fire safety inspector Vladimir Mukhutdinov was found guilty of abuse of office powers. However, he was exempt from punishment due to the statute of limitation. Fire safety inspectors Dmitry Roslyakov and Natalia Prokopyeva were found guilty of negligence.

The defendants were sentenced to four to nine years in prison. Zak was given the longest prison term. Yefremova, Fetkulov and the Derbenevs were taken in custody in the courtroom.

Also, the court ordered the Finance Ministry to pay damages, as officials Dmitry Roslyakov and Natalia Prokopyeva, had caused harm to the injured parties.

The fire at the Perm nightclub broke out overnight to December 5, 2009, when it was marking the first anniversary of its establishment. One hundred and fifty-six people died of carbon monoxide and other toxic combustion gases poisoning and another 65 suffered serious harm to health. The authorities recognized 404 people to be the victims within the criminal case.

According to the Investigative Committee /SK/, the fire broke out during the show with the so-called "cold fireworks." At first, foam plastic that lined the ceiling caught fire. The investigators also blamed the improper performance of duties by fire inspectorate personnel, who had failed to expose various violations of the fire safety regulations at the cafe.

Zak earlier conveyed his condolences to the victims' families. He refused to admit his guilt and asked for softer punishment. "They made a scapegoat of me, and slated me for punishment. I've long understood that it's my cross and has been bearing it for the fourth year running," he stated at the trial.

Nightclub executive director Svetlana Yefremova brought her apologies to the injured parties. "I wish to tell the relatives of those who died on that terrible night that I'm bringing my apologies. Very many people died, and it's hard to live with this fact," Svetlana Yefremova told a hearing, "I've given an honest account of my work at the club. I admit my guilt, and am ready to accept any punishment meted out by the court."

Art director Oleg Fetkulov brought his apologies, too: "I understand your pain, because this tragedy has affected my family, too, and perhaps, it is my punishment for the rest of my life. I wish to apologize again for not being able to prevent this tragedy."

“Lame Horse” co-owner Konstantin Mrykhin was detained in Spain and extradited to Russia. On May 14, 2012, Perm's Lenin district court sentenced him to 6.5 years in a general regime penitentiary and ordered to pay 200 million roubles in compensation to the injured parties.

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