Four charged in Buenos Aires nightclub fire

Sunday, May 8, 2005

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Five former municipal officials have been charged with manslaughter in connection with the December nightclub fire here that claimed 193 lives.

Judge Marcelo Lucini handed down the charges Friday against a city official, Fabiana Fiszbin, and four others who oversaw the city's nightclubs at the time of the Dec. 30 fire at the Cromagnon Republic club in downtown Buenos Aires. The charges came after months of investigation.

After the deaths, the Buenos Aires mayor fired many city inspectors and ordered hundreds of nightclubs to close temporarily amid rigorous inspections.

Authorities earlier filed manslaughter charges against the owner of the nightclub, a businessman named Omar Chaban who has been in police custody since the fire. If convicted, Chaban, like the others charged Friday, could face a prison sentence of eight to 25 years.

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