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4 jailed over students' gas poisoning deaths
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A court Tuesday said it sentenced three school officials and a teacher to jail over last year's carbon monoxide poisoning in which 11 students at a northwest China school died.

The People's Court in Dingbian County of Shaanxi Province handed down jail terms from three to five years Monday to principal Zhao Binghong and vice principal Han Huilong of Duiziliang School, the dead students' teacher Song Xiaoyan and school official Zhou Wanqi who was in charge of logistics. All four had earlier pleaded not guilty and are to appeal the verdict.

They were convicted of dereliction of duty, as investigators found safety loopholes at the school, including inadequate ventilation in the dormitories and piles of coal that blocked exits.

A total of 12 girls, all fourth-graders of the school, were found in a coma in their dorm on the morning of Dec. 2. The only survivor, Cai Maomao, is still in hospital.

(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2009)

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