Cyprus ex-defense minister jailed 5 yrs over blast

AP News
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Posted: Aug 02, 2013 8:17 AM

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A Cypriot criminal court has sentenced the country's former defense minister to five years in prison over the 2011 explosion of seized Iranian gunpowder that killed 13 people and knocked out Cyprus' main power station.

The three-judge bench sentenced 74-year-old Costas Papacostas on Friday after finding him guilty last month of negligent manslaughter for not taking precautions that would have prevented 80 containers of gunpowder from blowing up.

The containers were left piled up in a field inside a naval base for more than two years. Authorities said the spontaneous combustion of one container triggered the disaster.

Three senior fire service officials were each sentenced to two years in prison on the lesser charge of causing death through a reckless act.