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No charges laid in deadly school fire in Iran


Source: Radio Zamaneh

Tavakol Heydari, the head of the Western Azerbaijan justice department, has announced that no one has been charged for the fire incident at a Sheenabad elementary school.

cartoon by Mardomak

In an interview with ISNA on Saturday January 5, Heydari said: "If the janitor had removed the children before trying to take out the faulty heater, there probably would have been fewer casualties. Or if there had been a fire extinguisher on site, the incident might have been prevented."

He added that such issues are being discussed but they are not "judicial faults."

In December, 37 grade four students suffered burn injuries when a faulty heater exploded while being removed from the classroom.

Two of the victims, Siran Yeganeh and Sarina Rasoulzadeh, succumbed to their injuries later in hospital in Tabriz. Two other students are still said to be in critical conditions.

The head of the Western Azerbaijan justice department went on to add: "No complaints have been filed against the Red Crescent or the school teacher, and it is obvious that there has been no deliberate insouciance on the part of the teacher or the principal."

He added that no expert reports have been filed regarding the heaters and whether they were old and unsafe.

The incident drew harsh criticism of the Education Minister and the ministry programs. The Association for Children's Rights and local activists and MPs called on Minister Hajibabayi to resign.

Heydari stressed that despite the death of two students, no one has filed charges so far. He added that the Education Ministry's assurances that it will pay all damages and treatment costs for the students could be the reason that his department has received no complaints.


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