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Athlone family to sue Qatar govt

An Athlone family seeks justice after their daughter was killed in a Qatar shopping mall fire.

Security clear the entrance to Villagio mall in Doha, Qatar after a fire. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Cape Town lawyer Michael Bagraim on Monday said he has agreed to help an Athlone family find justice after their daughter died in a fire at the Villaggio Mall in Qatar.

Shameega Charles (29) was killed in the blaze at the Gympanzee Nursery, situated inside the local mall, last year.

A total of 18 others including a one-year-old South African boy were also killed.

Charles's parents are now looking to sue the shopping centre, where the blaze occurred, and the Qatari government.

Charles is survived by her six-year-old son.

Bagraim said he has agreed to help the family, free of charge.

"I feel incredibly sorry. I feel heartsore for this family. Their daughter was basically almost murdered in this fire because there was such a dereliction of the safety standards."

He said a Qatar court has already found the Villaggio Mall management guilty of gross negligence following the fatal blaze.

"We already have the gross negligence finding, we now need to ensure that the young child here in Cape Town is looked after for the rest of his life. The grandparents don't have money, they are aging and they don't have the wherewithal to be able to bring up this child."