Justice in Brazil on Friday sentenced the four accused to 18 to 22 years in prison for the death of 242 people in a fire that broke out in 2013 in a club.
The convicts are the two owners of the club and two members of the band that was playing when the fire broke out at the disco Kiss in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul.
The fire broke out on January 27, 2013 when members of the group Gurizada Fandangueira lit flares due to which the insulation of the roof of the nightclub caught fire, causing the release of toxic smoke. The approximately 1,000 attendees panicked and were trampled.
Many of the victims were charred by the fire or died of suffocation from the toxic smoke. The two musicians left the club in time without informing the attendees about the danger.
The four men were charged with the murder of 242 people and with the attempted murder of another 636 who were injured.
According to the findings of the investigation, the club did not have fire extinguishers that were operating, while the signage for the emergency exits was incomplete. Officials said there were only two emergency exits.
The fire broke out during a student party and most of the victims were between 17 and 30 years old.
Before the survivors and their relatives, Judge Orlando Fassini Neto announced his decision on the tenth day of the trial that took place in Porto Alegre.
Along with the seven jurors, the judge heard the testimonies of 14 survivors, 19 witnesses and the four defendants. The process was broadcast live on television and other media.
Katia Pacheco Sicieira, a former Kiss worker and one of the survivors, described in her testimony the 21 days she spent in hospital with burns on 40% of her body.
“I was screaming that I did not want to die,” he said, adding that the club’s policy was “the more people in, the better.”
Kiss co-owner Elisandro Cayegaro Port, 38, was sentenced to the longest sentence of 22 years and six months in prison, while his partner Mauro Londero Hoffman, 56, was sentenced to 19 years and six months.
Luciano Bonia Leao, 44, a music producer, and musician Marcelo de Jesus dos Santos, 41, were each sentenced to 18 years in prison.
However, all four remain at large pending an appeal by their lawyers.