NOVOKUZNETSK, February 18 (RIA Novosti) – A Siberian court ended a criminal case Tuesday into the deadliest mine blast in modern Russia citing the statute of limitations, local prosecutors said in a statement Tuesday.
Breaches of mine safety rules allegedly led to the methane blast that ripped through a coal mine in western Siberia's Kemerovo Region on March 19, 2007, killing 110 people. It was the deadliest mine blast on Russian territory since 1944.
“Today, on February 18, 2014, the Novokuznetsk district court ended a criminal case against the six suspects in the Ulyanovskaya coal mine blast because the statute of limitations had expired. The act was committed due to negligence and is thus considered a minor offense,” the statement reads.
The six employees of the mine, including its director, had been charged with causing multiple deaths by violating safety rules, and were facing a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
Earlier, charges against 19 engineers were also dropped due to the statute of limitations.
Russia has a poor mine safety record, with a string of deadly disasters in the last two decades.