NEWS

Faran five go on trial for quake ‘murders’

Four pharmaceutical company officials and a civil engineer are to stand trial tomorrow for the «murder with possible malice aforethought» of eight employees crushed to death when the Faran plant partially collapsed during the earthquake that struck Athens in September 1999. The quake, which had its epicenter on Mt Parnitha and registered 5.9 on the Richter scale, caused 143 deaths and damaged thousands of buildings. The five suspects had taken an appeal against the murder charges to the Supreme Court, which ruled that all five had been aware of construction faults in the building and did nothing to correct them. Similar trials are expected to start in October, again with the defendants accused of murder, a charge used frequently by prosecutors in the case of accidents – such as the quake and the 2000 Samina ferry sinking – that caused great loss of life.