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Thirteen convicted over Bucharest nightclub fire

Over 100 years in prison for those held responsible for the Colectiv nightclub fire, which killed 64 people in the Romanian capital four years ago

By Anna Grace on 16 Dec 2019

Thirteen convicted over Bucharest nightclub fire

Floral tributes at the site of the Colectiv nightclub (cropped)

image © Eugen Simion 14/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

A court in the Romanian capital of Bucharest has today (Monday 16 December) handed prison sentences to 13 people in conjunction with a deadly fire that broke out in the 700-capacity Colectiv nightclub in 2015.

The blaze, which started after fireworks ignited inflammable acoustic foam at a show by metalcore band Goodbye to Gravity on 30 October 2015, killed 64 people, including four of the five band members.

The tragic fire sparked sweeping reforms to both venue regulation and the political system in Romania. However, many criticised a lack of punishment for those who played a role in the tragedy.

Now, over four years since the incident, the first convictions have been made, with 13 individuals deemed responsible for the fire receiving a combined 115 years and six months in prison.

In addition to the prison time, the Bucharest court ordered authorities found guilty of negligence to pay €50 million to the survivors of the fire and the families of those who died. Individual amounts range from €50,000 to €900,000.

Colectiv’s owners Anastasescu George Alin, Mincu Costin and Gancea Paul-Cătălin are each facing prison sentences of eleven years and eight months.

Now, over four years since the incident, the first convictions have been made

Niţă Daniela Ioana, the owner of the company that supplied the fireworks, received a sentence of twelve years and eight months in prison, whereas fellow owner Niţă Cristian Mihai was sentenced to three years and six months.

Zaharia Viorel and Moise Marian, pyrotechnic experts working on the show, received sentences of nine years and eight months and ten years in prison respectively.

The former mayor of Bucharest’s sector 4 municipality was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison for issuing operating permits to Colectiv, with other local politicians receiving sentences of between three and eight years.

Two firemen were each handed sentences of nine years and two months.

All convictions can be challenged in a higher court.

A documentary entitled Colectiv, which follows the aftermath of the fire and ensuing anti-corruption investigations, premiered at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year.

Photo: Eugen Simion/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0


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