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Qatar fire trial delayed a fourth time

Wednesday 14 Nov 2012 7:37 a.m.

Smoke billows from the Villagio Mall during the fire  (Reuters)

Smoke billows from the Villagio Mall during the fire (Reuters)

The criminal hearing into the Qatar mall fire which killed 19 people, including the New Zealand two-year-old triplets, has been put off for the fourth time after the daycare facility's owners failed to show up.

Iman Al Kuwari, owner of the Gympanzee daycare where 13 children, four teachers and two firefighters died of smoke asphyxiation in May, was again absent from the Lower Criminal Court in Al Sadd on Tuesday, local time, the Doha News reports.

A lawyer for some victims asked the court to proceed without her, but the judges said they would send police to summon her to attend the next hearing on November 29.

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 website says.

Many of the parents of the 13 children killed in the May 28 fire attached photos of their children to their sleeves and were visibly upset by the adjournment.

Qatar investigators have blamed faulty wiring for starting the fire and cited shortcomings in safety planning by staff at the country's biggest mall.

The children killed were all members of Qatar's large expatriate community, including New Zealand triplets Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes and three Spanish siblings.

NZN

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