Legal battle surrounds Schiphol fire suspect

The Libyan accused of setting fire to the Schiphol airport detention centre last year is at the centre of a legal battle over whether or not he should be kept in jail. Yesterday, the immigration service (IND) appealled against an earlier ruling in favour of his release.

The public prosecution department says the man – 24-year-old Achmed Al-J – deliberately started the fire which killed 11 people with a cigarette.
Today’s Volkskrant says the he appeal decision could take weeks. His lawyer Eduard Damman told the paper that his client has been detained without trial for 13 months and described the situation as ‘inhumane’.
The prosecution has so far been unable to prove that the Libyan started the fire on purpose. Achmed Al-J, who was badly injured in the blaze, claims the fire was an accident.
Earlier this month an Amsterdam court ordered his release. But on the same day he was picked up by the IND and transferred to a deportation centre at Rotterdam Airport pending extradition. The IND still claims this is in the pipeline.
Other survivors, all of whom were scheduled for deportation, have been given residency permits.

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