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TRAGEDY IN MADRID

Madrid stampede party promoter to appear in court

Legal representatives of private security firms hired for event also summonsed

Miguel Ángel Flores, the owner of the company that organized the Halloween party in Madrid at which four young women died in a human stampede, has been ordered to appear before magistrates as an official suspect in the case. The Madrid provincial High Court stated that it will sit Flores in the dock during the course of this week, "or at the latest the beginning of the next."

Also to be formally named as suspects by the investigating judge are the legal representatives from Kontrol 34 and Seguriber, the two private security firms hired by Flores' Diviertt for the event. The court also asked that it be informed of the department responsible for hiring out municipal venues "with immediate effect."

Madrid Arena, the scene of the tragedy, is under the auspice of the public company Madrid Espacios y Congresos, headed by the city’s economy chief, Pedro Calvo. On Tuesday, Judge Eduardo López Palop is due to carry out an inspection of Madrid Arena along with the police’s scientific unit, members of the Attorney General’s Office and three off-duty officers who attended the October 31 party. The main objective of the inspection is to determine how many people attended the event.

The police report on the case states that Madrid Arena was “excessively overcrowded.” The arena has a legal capacity of 10,600, but a witness who testified to police said that there were as many as 20,000 people in the building. Diviertt claims it sold 7,000 tickets for the event while City Hall said a day after the tragedy that the figure was 9,600.

 The police are still working on the hypothesis, backed by witness statements, that a huge influx of people without tickets jumped the gates at the event and caused a massive crush in one of the corridors leading to the main dance floor of the arena.

Kontrol 34 on Monday placed the blame for the accident at the feet of Seguriber and the municipal police, who were stationed at the door of the arena. The company’s lawyer stated that Diviertt contacted the firm to ask if it could provide them with a list of registered doormen “so it could directly hire people to cover the event.” Diviertt claims that Kontrol 34 was responsible for security at the party.

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