Philippine court convicts 9 people for 1996 disco fire that killed 162 people

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A Philippine court has convicted nine people for graft over a 1996 nightclub fire that killed 162 people, mostly students celebrating the end of the school year.

The Sandiganbayan anti-graft court on Thursday convicted seven former city engineering officials of suburban Quezon City and two operators of the Ozone disco and handed out sentences of up to 10 years.

About 400 people were packed in the disco when the fire broke out, but many were unable to escape because the emergency exit was blocked by a new building next door.

The court also disqualified the former city officials from ever holding public office for approving the nightclub's building permit despite non-compliance with the building code.