Architects cleared in quake case

Two architects were yesterday cleared of being responsible for the deadly collapse of the Ricomex household goods factory during an earthquake in September 1999 in Attica. Judges at the appeals court in Athens ruled, in a six-to-one majority decision, that Nikos Scholidis and Alexandros Davos were not guilty of the manslaughter of the 39 people who were killed when the building in the northern Athens suburb of Metamorphosis collapsed during a 5.9 Richter quake eight years ago. The court heard that a number of alterations had been made to the building since it was first built which contributed to its collapse and for which the architects could not be held responsible. The president of the court, Nikos Leontis, admitted that the judges had trouble arriving at a decision but said that there had been «no evidence» against the two architects who had previously been given suspended five-year jail terms. Relatives of the victims who attended yesterday’s hearing decried the court’s decision.

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