The two managers of Cuba Libre, where fourteen people died asphyxiated in a fire in August 2016, were sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison, three of which closed, by the Criminal Court of Rouen where was held this poignant, marked trial by the chilling narrative of the survivors.
The defendants "have violated a number of precautionary or security obligations imposed by law and regulations, which are at the root of the fire, which is the direct and certain cause of the deaths," said the president of the court.
"A sum of security breaches"
If the two men, also sentenced to a ban on running a public institution, were not placed in custody, the prison sentence is "not feasible," she said. The prosecution had required four years in prison for these two brothers aged 40 and 48, believing that their establishment located in Rouen was "only a sum of security breaches".
Nacer and Amirouche Boutrif, who appeared free at the trial held from September 9 to 16, were tried for "causing the untimely death" of fourteen people, mostly young people between the ages of 18 and 25, and unintentionally injured them five others seriously.
"I saw the fire in the stairwell, it was too late to turn it off"
On August 5, 2016, friends were celebrating 20 years of Ophélie in the basement of 24 m2 of this bar of Rouen arranged without authorization in nightclub and whose emergency door was closed, when two candles of the cake of birthday, sparkling fountains, ignited the ceiling of the stairs.
The ceilings of this cellar, where birthday parties regularly took place, were covered with sound-absorbing polyurethane foam sheets, an extremely flammable material, which resulted in a rapid spread of flames.
Gauthier, 20, one of the three "miraculas" of Cuba Libre, had told this terrible evening at the helm. "I saw the fire in the stairwell, it was too late to extinguish it, and several people, including myself, rushed to the emergency exit door to open it but it did not open. "he said. When reading the judgment, the President stated that "it was neither necessary nor regulatory that this door be locked".
"Not the chance"
The plaintiffs pointed out the direct liability of the two managers in the tragedy. "In this case, we can not say 'it's the fault of no luck.' It's not a coincidence: the fourteen deaths are due to a succession of equally guilty offenses," had estimated Me Rose-Marie Captain, lawyer of the families of Florian, Donatien and Maverick, all three died in the fire.
Defense lawyers had tried to expand the scope of responsibilities. Me Akli Aït Taleb, the lawyer of Nacer Boutrif, had thus affirmed that "as of 2014, the policemen knew what was happening in the basement of Free Cuba". "The mayor must ensure the control of establishments receiving the public," he also said, noting that the institution had "never been subject to any control of the municipal police."
The managers did not have a criminal record
Nacer, chief bar manager, without a criminal record like his younger brother, admitted to the court breach of the rules, after buying the facility in 2003. He admitted he had not made any representations to the mayor before to develop the basement of Cuba Libre.
Shortly after the tragedy, the city of Rouen had decided the total or partial closure of a dozen music bars for non-compliance with safety standards.