Conviction for quake deaths

An architect involved in the construction of a building in northwestern Athens that collapsed during the September 1999 earthquake, crushing the residents of an adjoining house, received a suspended sentence of over three years yesterday for manslaughter. In the first conviction resulting from a series of lawsuits against property owners, company officials, architects and civil engineers following the destructive earthquake, an Athens court found Constantinos Brembos guilty of the deaths of Evangelos and Maria Tsoumba, who lived in the smaller building. He was sentenced to 40 months’ imprisonment, suspended. The 5.9-Richter quake killed 143 people, mostly in the capital’s western and northern suburbs close to Mount Parnitha, where the epicenter was located. Brembos had designed the second floor of a building on Stratigou Syrma Street in Ano Liossia, which fell onto the Tsoumbas’s house. The court found that he had failed to take into account illegal additions to the lower parts of the building that should have been strengthened before the upper floor was added.