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Trial For Russian Nightclub Tragedy Resumes

Relatives mourn victims of the Perm nightclub fire during funeral ceremonies for some of the 156 dead in December 2009.
PERM, Russia -- The trial of four people charged with negligence and manslaughter in a deadly blaze at a nightclub in the central Russian city of Perm has resumed after a one-month suspension, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The trial was halted last month at the request of the lawyers of the nightclub owner, Anatoly Zak, who they said was very sick.

The judge had to stop the proceedings several times during the January 25 hearing to allow Zak to receive medical assistance. His lawyer said Zak needs special treatment before he will be fit enough to take part in the trial.

The fire at the Khromaya Loshad (Lame Horse) nightclub in Perm on December 5, 2009, killed 156 people and injured dozens of others. Investigators say the fire was caused by fireworks used in the nightclub that set the ceiling alight.

Zak, nightclub managers Oleg Fetkulov and Svetlana Yefremova, and Sergei Derbenyov, the head of the company that sold fireworks to the nightclub, were arrested and charged with manslaughter in late December 2009.

Several officials in the Perm Oblast's Fire Control Department were dismissed after the tragedy and the oblast's chief fire inspector, Vladimir Mukhutdinov, was arrested and charged with negligence.

Read in Russian here