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Perm Club Owner Jailed for Fire That Killed 156

A Perm court has sentenced the owner of a nightclub where a fire killed 156 people to nearly 10 years in jail after convicting him and seven others, including organizers of a fireworks show that touched off the blaze.

The 2009 fire at the Khromaya Loshad (Lame Horse) nightclub in the city of Perm broke out when a pyrotechnics display set fire to wicker decorations during a party. Many of the victims died of smoke inhalation and others were crushed to death as they tried to get out.

Club co-owner Anatoly Zak received nine years and 10 months in prison for negligence, the court ruled Tuesday. The father-and-son organizers of the pyrotechnics display both received nearly five years each for safety violations.

The region's former chief fire inspector, Vladimir Mukhutdinov, was also charged but his punishment was reduced under Russia's statute of limitations. Other inspectors received prison terms of four and five years.

A former co-owner of the club, Konstantin Mykhrin, was extradited to Russia from Spain and was sentenced to six and a half years in prison last May.

Victims' relatives in the court room groaned when the judge said Zak deserved leniency because he was a father and that he had alerted authorities to the fire and helped rescue efforts, Interfax reported.

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