Lankan who set fire to detention centre over cigarettes jailed

9 April 2012 09:49 am - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Eight inmates  including a Sri Lankan have been sentenced to three years in jail for setting fire to a detention centre in Dubai after being refused cigarettes.

The five Emirati nationals, an Iranian, a Pakistani and a Sri Lankan were all accused of risking the lives of other detainees and police officers at Al Rafaa Police Station.

It was the culmination of a protest that had started with a hunger strike on August 17. The men were demanding cigarettes and the right to make phone calls until 2am.

The following day, they covered the detention centre's surveillance cameras with paper and toothpaste, then started a fire using a battery and a wire.

A Pakistani detainee testified that as he was leaving the toilets he noticed DS, the group's leader, instructing others to cover cameras while KM stood holding the battery and wire, waiting for orders to start the fire.
"They started the fire using a newspaper then spread the fire to bed sheets and blankets," said the witness.

Another detainee, AF, testified that at around 11pm, 30 seconds before the fire started, DS told him and other detainees to get out of the centre. "I saw policemen and fire fighters rushing inside the detention centre," he said.

AM, who arrived at the detention centre on the 17th, said that as he arrived, the five Emirati detainees had told him and other prisoners to go on a hunger strike. But when he and many of the others refused, the defendants forced them to.

DS, 32, SJ, 41, KM, 25, RA, 20, and AS, 35, all unemployed Emiratis; an Iranian FM, 39; Pakistani FS, 20; as well as HL, 29, from Sri Lanka were charged with plotting to set fire to the police station, risking the lives of the other detainees and policemen, and causing Dh11,096 damage to public property.

They had all previously denied the charges before the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance in August last year. (The National)

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  • shantha madawela Monday, 09 April 2012 04:29 PM

    Non smokers may like it, but smokers may curse it....

    anukampa Monday, 09 April 2012 11:21 AM

    giya thena ettan ledak dangannawa


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