Libyan accused of Schiphol fire may be freed

The Libyan accused of starting the fire at a deportation centre at Schiphol in 2005 will be released from prison if the court hearing his appeal agrees with the prosecution’s demand that his sentence should be lowered, report various media on Friday.

The Libyan, Ahmed al-J, has already spent longer in prison than the two year, 24 day sentence asked for by the prosecution on Friday.
In June 2007, a Haarlem court sentenced Ahmed al-J for three years in prison for starting the fire in which 11 people died.
The public prosecution service initiated the appeal against the sentence but on Friday it said it has lowered its sentence demand after evidence which has emerged during this week’s hearing.
According to public prosecutor Hans Wesselink, Ahmed al-J realised that there was a chance of starting a fire when he threw away a burning cigarette end.
But the fact that the building did not meet fire safety regulations, that mistakes were made when trying to evacuate detainees and the late arrival of the fire brigade all contributed to the scale and seriousness of the fire, according to Wesselink.
This has led the prosecution to conclude that Ahmed al-J was not solely responsible for what happened, according to the press.

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