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Two inmates fined Dh100,000 for setting detention centre on fire.

Summary: Two inmates, who were part of a foursome who started a fire at a detention centre, were sentenced to an additional three years each in prison as they were convicted of arson, endangering the lives of 65 other detainees and damaging public property worth about Dh100,000.

Two inmates, who were part of a foursome who started a fire at a detention centre, were sentenced to an additional three years each in prison as they were convicted of arson, endangering the lives of 65 other detainees and damaging public property worth about Dh100,000.

A Court of First Instance bench, presided over by Judge Maher Salama Al Mahdi, also fined the two inmates Dh100,000 to repay for the damage they inflicted on the Al Qusais detention centre in December 2009. This is a re-trial of the Emirati pair who were convicted last year of the charges along with two other inmates. All four were initially each given an extra three-year prison term but only two were ordered to pay Dh100,000 worth of compensation.

According to court records, the duo and two other inmates, three Emiratis and one Iranian, whose ages range from 23 to 29, are believed to have started a fire at the Al Qusais detention centre, endangering the lives of 65 inmates.

An inmate at the same detention centre told the prosecutors that the defendants started the fire in protest of being denied enough cigarettes and delivery meals.

The 32-year-old Emirati witness said that the inmates at the detention centre assigned him to speak on their behalf to the director of the centre.

"The inmates used to complain about being denied watching TV, cigarettes and going to the canteen of the detention," he said.

He testified that the inmates were also upset because they were not given sufficient cigarettes. He met with the director and they were given four packets only.

They threatened to take action if their demands were not met and accused the witness of being a coward. He went to his bed but had to walk out after the fire alarm went off.

He said he saw fire burning in the cells where the defendants were protesting against the cigarette provisions.

The inmates had to be transferred later to other detention centres. The fire fighters were called to extinguish the fire.

A Pakistani driver, who was in the same detention centre, said in the investigation that he saw the defendants set the blankets on fire with a lighter.

The inmates covered the surveillance cameras before they started the fire. He recalled that the defendants were angry as they were denied cigarettes.

mary@khaleejtimes.com

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:May 11, 2013
Words:457
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