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Iran imprisons 21 over May building collapse that killed 43

Current and former mayors of southwest city of Abadan arrested along with other municipal officials over disaster that prompted widespread anti-corruption protests

Iranians gather at the site where a ten-storey building collapsed as rescue operations continue in the southwestern city of Abadan on May 24, 2022. (TASNIM NEWS/AFP)
Iranians gather at the site where a ten-storey building collapsed as rescue operations continue in the southwestern city of Abadan on May 24, 2022. (TASNIM NEWS/AFP)

TEHRAN — Iran’s judiciary said on Wednesday that 21 people including high-ranking local officials have been jailed after they were convicted over the deadly collapse of a building that triggered widespread anti-corruption protests.

The 10-story Metropol building that was under construction in the city of Abadan in southwestern Khuzestan province collapsed on May 23, leading to the deaths of 43 people.

“The 21 defendants were sentenced to three years in prison for manslaughter caused by failing to respect government regulations and building safety, resulting in the deaths of 36 men and 7 women,” the Judicial Authority reported on its Mizan Online site.

It said the current mayor of Abadan, two former mayors and several city officials were among those convicted.

The disaster was one of Iran’s deadliest in years. It took emergency services almost two weeks to recover the bodies of those who died.

The tragedy sparked a series of demonstrations across the country against authorities accused of corruption and incompetence.

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