TWO defendants charged over the Qatar mall childcare facility fire which killed three New Zealand triplets and 16 others have failed to turn up to their first court hearing.
The first hearing over the May 28 fire in the Villaggio mall in Doha was scheduled for the first week of September.
But although representatives of the mall owners were present, no representatives were present from the Gympanzee facility, where most of the children died, or the local council.
Attempts to reach the two defendants who weren’t present failed because “their phones were off”, a source told Doha News.
The postponement drew ire on a Facebook memorial page to Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, the New Zealand triplets who died.
“In any other country these people would be arrested for this. How rude of them, how disrespectful and hurtful to the families. Very disappointing indeed,” Helen Hystek wrote.
The hearing was postponed until October.
Those originally detained after the fire included Iman Al Kuwari, the Qatari owner of Gympanzee whose father is Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kuwari, Qatar’s Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage.
Details of the charges are sketchy but Doha News presumed Ms Al Kuwari is being charged with operating Gympanzee without proper licensing and that the mall management was probably charged for not having adequate safety measures in place.
A source from Villaggio mall, which is still closed, said “we just want this to be finished”.