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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

6 Convicted in Deadly 2003 Fire

Moscow's Gagarinsky District Court on Tuesday convicted six people in the 2003 dormitory fire at People's Friendship University, which claimed 44 lives, Interfax reported.

Five university officials were found guilty of violating the fire code, and a city fire inspector was convicted of negligence in the case.

The five officials, who made up the university's fire safety commission, included deputy rector Yevgeny Kunitsyn, acting head of facilities management Gennady Yermolayev, chief engineer Avedik Taritov, chief mechanic Vasily Zinovyev and Alexei Biserov, who was in charge of the dormitory that burned on Nov. 24, 2003, killing 44 students and injuring 156 others.

The judge told the five university officials that their carelessness had "caused people's deaths," Interfax reported.

Fire inspector Pavel Lonin was convicted of criminal negligence for failing to ensure that adequate measures were taken to correct fire hazards at the university. The judge described Lonin's actions as "careless" and "negligent," Interfax reported.

Investigators found that the 1960s-era dormitory building, a quarantine facility for recently arrived students, lacked a fire alarm system and there was no evacuation plan for its residents, many of whom did not speak Russian.

The prosecutor in the case asked that the six receive sentences ranging from three years suspension to three years in jail.