Schiphol wardens suspects in fire tragedy

9th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

9 August 2006, AMSTERDAM — Prosecution officials suspect two wardens who were on duty on the night of the fire at Schiphol detention centre of culpable homicide.

9 August 2006

AMSTERDAM — Prosecution officials suspect two wardens who were on duty on the night of the fire at Schiphol detention centre of culpable homicide.

A spokesperson for the Public Prosecutor's Office in Haarlem confirmed to newspaper Trouw that the two wardens are suspected of not "observing certain instructions and not acting in accordance with agreements". The fire at the detention centre at Schiphol East killed 11 deportees last October.

A decision on whether to charge S.B., 24, and P.K., 26, is awaiting the completion of the technical investigation into the fire. This could take nine months.

B. and K., Trouw said on Wednesday, were the first people on the scene as smoke began emerging from a cell in K wing of the detention centre on 26 October 2005. According to the emergency plan, they should have opened the hatch in the cell door and extinguished the flames.

But it is alleged they opened the cell door, removed the prisoner and left the door open. The corridor quickly filled up with smoke and the fire spread to the adjacent cells. 

Testifying in a civil damages action taken by 26 survivors, the duo told a court last June they were not prepared for a fire. They had not received training to deal with a fire in the centre and had not read the emergency plan before the accident. B. even said he had not even known there was such a plan.

Libyan Achmed Issa Al-J, 24, the person in whose cell the fire started, is being prosecuted for arson.

Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk defended the centre staff for criticism after the fire. She told parliament they had acted "adequately", a word choice that further angered her critics.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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