Owner, others to face jail for fatal Russia club fire

May 7, 2013 at 4:39 PM

PERM, Russia, May 7 (UPI) -- The owners of a Russian night club where 165 people died in a fire were sentenced to prison while others associated with the case were also convicted.

A fire was sparked by pyrotechnics inside a Perm, Russia, nightclub Dec. 5, 2009, during its first anniversary party. Subsequent investigations determined fire inspectors fell down on the job, failing to identify several violations that could have prevented the blaze, if remedied, Itar-Tass said Tuesday.

"Lame Horse" owner Anatoly Zak received the harshest sentence, though executive director Svetlana Yefremova and art director Oleg Fetkulov will also face prison time. Their sentences range from 4 to 9 years, Itar-Tass said.

Vladimir Mukhutdinov, the regional fire inspector, was convicted of abuse of power charges but wasn't sentenced because the statute of limitations expired. Two other fire inspectors were convicted of negligence.

Zak said authorities used him to make an example and mollify angry family members of those who died.

"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 said during the trial.

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