Source: Villaggio fire hearing postponed due to absence of defendants

The criminal prosecution to determine responsibility for the Villaggio Mall fire has been postponed because two out of three parties charged did not show up, a reliable source at Villaggio has told Doha News.

Representatives of the mall attended the hearing, but no one from the Municipality and Gympanzee was present, prompting the court case to be postponed until next month.

Attempts to reach the defendants failed because “their phones were off,” the source told Doha News.

When reached by phone, the Public Prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

Shortly after the May 28 fire that killed 19 people, including 13 children, Qatar detained four Villaggio mall management officials and Iman Al Kuwari, the Qatari owner of Gympanzee, for questioning. 

Al Kuwari, whose father is Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kuwari, Qatar’s Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, is presumably being charged for operating Gympanzee as a nursery without proper licensing.

The prosecution is likely charging the mall management for not having adequate safety measures in place and for negligence.

Villaggio, which has been closed for more than three months, continues to await Civil Defense clearance to reopen.

The postponement has frustrated some at the mall, who say they want to put the trial behind them.

“We just want this to be finished,” the Villaggio source said.


Credit: Photo by Joe Gratz

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