Defendants in blast case freed

April 24, 2014 - 4:58:42 am
File Picture: Emergency units at the scene of a collapsed building after a gas cylinder explosion in a restaurant near the petrol station behind Landmark Mall

DOHA: The criminal court hearing the restaurant blast case yesterday ordered the release of all four defendants, but imposed a travel ban on them until the final verdict.

The trial began yesterday in the case over the explosion in February in a restaurant in a petrol station near Landmark mall that killed 11 people and injured 35. 

The four accused are an Asian working with Woqod as supervisor, an Arab expatriate from Qatar Gas Company, and a baker and an accountant at Istanbul restaurant, where the explosion occurred.

All the defendants were present at the hearing. Some of the victims who suffered injuries in the blast also attended the court’s session.

The defendants’ lawyers appealed to the court to set the four free until the final verdict. They broke down when the court ordered their release, at the end of the hearing, Al Sharq reported.

They are charged with negligence causing the death of more than three people,  endangering the lives of people and damaging property.

The first accused — the Woqod supervisor — is charged with negligence in discharging his duty because he failed to notify the company to stop gas supply to the restaurant until its renovation work was finished. The second accused, who was in charge of the renovation work, is accused of connecting the restaurant equipment to new gas pipes without inspecting the site and ensuring that renovation work was over. The third accused — the baker — did not switch off the gas oven, and the fourth accused did not make sure that the oven was properly closed. 

As a result, gas leaked from the oven and was apparently ignited by an electrical spark.