Fire suspect remanded in custody

11th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

11 November 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Libyan man suspected of starting the fire that killed 11 rejected asylum seekers at the detention centre in Schiphol has been remanded in custody.

11 November 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Libyan man suspected of starting the fire that killed 11 rejected asylum seekers at the detention centre in Schiphol has been remanded in custody.

The Public Prosecutor (OM) confirmed that a court decided on Thursday the suspect must remain in custody for at least two weeks while the investigation continues.

Meanwhile, inmates who survived the fire can be expelled, Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said on Thursday.

The Libyan's lawyer, Robbert Ketwaru, said in an interview with Radio 1 on Thursday that his client was denying he deliberately started the fire.

The suspect, who has not been named, was placed in the Schiphol detention centre a day before the fire. He was due to be deported a day after the fire.

Eleven people died in the fire at the detention centre in late October. All the victims were designated 'illegal immigrants' and faced deportation from the Netherlands.

The Libyan man suffered severe burn injuries and was treated at the Beverwijk burns unit. He was moved to the prison wing of Scheveningen Prison after his arrest on Monday.

Ketwaru revealed that his client "asked for and received a lighter" prior to the fire but he had not started it deliberately. The lawyer declined to outline the suspect account of the events leading up to the tragedy.

"He is very shocked that he is accused of having 11 deaths on his conscience. He is relatively depressive and very emotional," the lawyer said. The suspect made a statement to police which was incoherent in places.

Ketwaru said he could not reveal any more details as the investigation is ongoing. His client is being held in restrictive custody, a form of isolation.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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