The first prison sentences have been passed in the case investigating the Colectiv Club fire.
4 years after the tragic fire at the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest, which killed 64 people, the Bucharest Tribunal has passed several prison sentences. Targeted are the former mayor of Bucharest District 4, Cristian Popescu, who was handed a sentence of 8 years and 6 months, as well as the owners of the club, who were each sentenced to serve 11 years and 8 months in prison.
The owners of the fireworks company were sentenced to 12 years and 8 months and 3 years and 6 months, respectively, while the workers who staged the fireworks show were sentenced to 8, 9 and 10 years imprisonment, respectively. The two employees of the Inspectorate for Emergency Situations who released the functioning permit for the club were each sentenced to 9 years and 2 months. A
ll the people convicted in this case, in addition to the City Hall and the Inspectorate for Emergency Situations, must pay to the survivors and the victims’ families damages worth 50 million euros. The decision can be appealed. For two years the trial was in a procedural deadlock, as the designated judge retired and was replaced by another judge in October 2018. The current judge promised to make haste in solving the case and has kept his word.
Every week dozens of witnesses and victims were deposed. The club that burned down was set up in a vacated factory, and the fire broke out after a spark from the band’s pyrotechnics ignited the club’s acoustic foam, making the fire spread rapidly. The room was overcrowded and had but one exit. Some people died on the spot, killed by blazing dropping from the ceiling or trampled to death in the ensuing stampede. Others succumbed to their injuries and to infections in the months that followed.
(Translated by V. Palcu)