- Title: ARGENTINA: Ex-manager gets jail term for Argentine club fire
- Date: 21st August 2009
- Summary: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (AUGUST 19, 2009) (REUTERS) (SOME VISUAL PROBLEMS) VARIOUS OF RELATIVES SHOUTING OUTSIDE COURT: "CALLEJEROS ARE KILLERS" VARIOUS OF RELATIVES OF VICTIMS CLASHING WITH POLICE VARIOUS OF PEOPLE LEAVING THE COURTROOM AND SHOUTING
- Embargoed: 5th September 2009 03:41
- Location: Argentina
- Country: Argentina
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVA4REHNUG1XYGUMWLF5YI29QTH3
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: The former manager of a Buenos Aires nightclub was sentenced to 20 years in jail on Wednesday (August 19) over a fire that killed 194 people five years ago in the deadliest blaze in Argentine history.
Club manager Omar Chaban was expected to appeal the ruling meaning he would not immediately go to jail.
"Omar Emir Chaban is condemned for being the co-author and criminally responsible for the fire, defined as murder in the first degree, for having caused the deaths of 193 people and injuries to 1,432 people, to 20 years in prison and responsible for all legal costs," said Judge Marcelo Alvero as he read out the sentence. It was unclear as to why Chaban was only charged with 193 or the 194 deaths.
Relatives of the victims wept and held up family photos as the verdict was read out at the end a yearlong trial.
Members of the popular rock band Callejeros, who were performing at the packed club on the night of the accident, were acquitted.
But the band's manager was sentenced to 18 years in jail a senior police officer and city government safety officials were also given prison terms.
Police had to restrain some enraged relatives who attempted to attack members of the Callejeros band.
The violence then spread out onto the streets, where a candlelit vigil was being held in front of the court.
Anti-riot police moved in with trucks, spraying blue marker liquid at some protesters who began throwing barricades back at the vehicle.
The fire in the Cromagnon club broke out when a concert-goer set off a flare.
It sent burning debris and smoke into the crowd, and many of the victims died in a stampede to reach emergency exits that were locked by club owners to prevent people from getting into the show without paying.
Most of the victims were teenagers, but several young children died in a makeshift nursery the club allowed to operate in the women's bathroom.
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