By Angela Beswick
The parents of triplets killed in a mall fire in Qatar are angry and disappointed that the criminal hearing has been postponed a fourth time.
Nineteen people were killed when the Villagio Mall caught fire in May this year, including New Zealand triplets Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes who were in the mall’s Gympanzee daycare facility. Eleven other children, four teachers and two firefighters also died of smoke asphyxiation.
Doha News reported this morning the trial had been delayed again after the owners of the facility failed to show up to the Lower Criminal Court.
Iman Al Kuwari and her husband, the ambassador to Belgium, are likely out of the country and it was unclear whether police can force them to appear in court.
“The delay in the legal system is beginning to shed an unfavourable light on the country and the courts,” the triplets' father Martin Weekes said in a statement released today.
“Justice should be clear and swift. More importantly for us, the mockery the defendants are making of Qatar’s courts is prolonging our pain and grief as we seek to find the answers as to why our beautiful children were killed.”
Many of the parents of the children killed in the fire attached photos of their children to their sleeves and were visibly upset by the adjournment.
“We call upon the Qatar government to put an end to this insult and injustice,” Mr Weekes said.
“Once again, families and representatives from our governments attended court. We have continued to show more respect to the judicial system than some of the defendants.
“However, our patience is wearing thin.”
Qatar investigators have blamed faulty wiring for starting the fire and cited shortcomings in safety planning by staff at the country's biggest mall.