Myanmar jails two imams for deadly school blaze

Policemen stand guard in front of an Islamic school after a fire broke out at the school, in central Yangon, on April 2, 2013

Two imams in Myanmar have been sentenced to eight years in prison for negligence over a fire at a religious school that killed 13 boys, state media said on Saturday.

Around 70 children, some orphans, were sleeping in dormitories at the school inside a mosque complex in Rangoon when the blaze broke out in April 2013.

A court in Rangoon said in its ruling on Friday that the fire was caused by overheating of an electrical regulator and that the door of the school was locked, according to the New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

The victims died of suffocation when they were unable to escape.

The tragedy fanned religious tensions in the country following a wave of deadly Buddhist-Muslim unrest, but the authorities were quick to rule out arson.

The two defendants plan to launch an appeal, the report said.