Appeal starts into 2005 Schiphol fire

A court in Amsterdam was on Monday due to start a five-day appeal hearing into the fire at a deportation centre at Schiphol in 2005 in which 11 people died, reports Trouw.

In June 2007, a Haarlem court sentenced the Libyan Ahmed al-J for three years prison for starting the fire by throwing away a burning cigarette end.
The appeal case is only now being heard because of a number of investigations the court commissioned into how the fire started and spread, says the paper.
The court also asked for studies into Ahmed al-J’s memory by legal psychologists. According to lawyer Eduard Damman these have concluded that the fact that Ahmed-al-J admitted to throwing away the cigarette end means nothing.
‘That was something he did often. So it’s quite possible that he remembers doing it from another occasion than the day of the fire,’ Damman is quoted as saying in Trouw.
In September 2006 a report concluded that the authorities were largely to blame for the tragedy as the cell complex did not meet fire safety regulations. Two government ministers and the Haarlemmermeer mayor resigned as a result.

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