Triplets’ dad: Only John Key can stop Doha rumours
Tue, 02 Oct 2012 3:54p.m.
By 3 News online staff
The father of Kiwi triplets killed in a Doha mall fire says the onus is on John Key to stop “distressing” rumours spreading on the cause of the blaze.
Nineteen people, including 2-year-olds Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, were killed when Qatar’s Villagio Mall caught fire on May 28.
Martin Weekes says allegations the fire was orchestrated by Syrian president Bashar Al Assad are just one of many rumours to spread in recent months.
“Whilst the [Qatar] government refuses to release the report and let anyone know what actually happened, you create an information void and people will fill it with who knows what.”
He says only Mr Key can pressure the Qatar government into releasing the official report into the blaze.
“If John Key wants to speed up the process then John Key is the one who needs to pick up the phone,” he says.
“Because they will respond to John Key, prime minister to prime minister, asking for that information. As long as it goes through the bureaucracy of government, below it will just get stalled.”
Mr Weekes says more theories and speculation will emerge if the report continues to be delayed.
“The report is written, it’s been given to the Cabinet within the country – circulate it and stop the rumours. Stop countries like Syria getting political advantage at your expense – disprove it.”
Mr Weekes says he gives little weight to today’s claims and they bring little closure to the death of his children.
“It doesn’t change any thing,” he says. “It doesn’t change anything in the basis of our children are gone but we need to know what happened.”
Dubai-based Al Arabiya News today claimed to have obtained leaked Syrian security files which say Al Assad’s regime might have planned the fire at the mall.
The files included telegrams allegedly written by Syrian Major General Dhu Al Himma Shaleesh which say the Syrian regime aimed to “embarrass” Qatar and that operation “Villagio blaze” was successful.
In the files Mr Shaleesh reportedly asked the Syrian ambassador in Qatar how he could “weaken [Qatar’s] image and alter public opinion of the state”.
A report in June blamed the fire on negligence by many parties, but court hearings to determine who was responsible have been postponed until later this month.
Defendants charged over the fire failed to turn up to their first court hearing in September.
The fire allegedly broke out in a sporting goods store, and spread to the crèche where the New Zealand triplets and 10 other children died.
Following the fire, it was reported five mall staff had been arrested including the mall’s owner, manager, assistant manager, assistant director of security and the owner of the crèche.
The Qatari Interior Ministry said at the time that the rescue effort was hindered by malfunctioning sprinkler systems and a lack of floor plans for the mall.
Mr Weekes and his wife Jane have called for a boycott of the mall - which reopened last month - until an investigation into the fire is complete.
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3/10/2012 10:14:09 p.m.
The report will help bring closure to the families who lost their loved ones. They deserve answers. Our government should support the Weekes family and help get justice for these kiwi kids.
2/10/2012 6:44:03 p.m.
I fail to see why anyone should listen to john key, about anything.
2/10/2012 5:53:08 p.m.
Gut wrenching for the family, but living and working in the Middle East always comes with risks. This has been the case for many years. Unfortunately some people get attracted by the money and expat lifestyle and forget about the hidden risks. Forget about the report, it won't help anyone.
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