Man who caused 14 deaths at Dubai detention centre gets early release

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Dubai - He said he longed to meet his mother and seek her forgiveness.


Marie Nammour

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Published: Mon 18 Nov 2019, 6:41 PM

Last updated: Mon 18 Nov 2019, 9:24 PM

An Emirati - who was serving a life term for starting a fire at a police detention centre that killed 14 prisoners - has been released before seeing out his full sentence.
The 40-year-old secured an early release based on a plea he had filed and his good conduct in prison.
A public prosecution source told Khaleej Times that the case dates back to 2001. The convict and four others caused chaos inside the detention centre in Bur Dubai before it culminated in the tragic incident. "They were in jail on different charges - mostly drug-related. On the incident day, they started a fire and the victims died because of smoke inhalation."
In his plea, the inmate said imprisonment had changed him for the better. He said he longed to meet his mother and seek her forgiveness for everything he made her go through.
How the tragedy unfolded
Explaining the case, a lawyer, whose client was among the victims, said: "There was a group of inmates, who caused disturbance inside the detention centre because the administration did not meet their demands for certain food items and medicines. On the day of the incident, they set their mattresses ablaze with a lighter and smoke engulfed the cells. The inmates died of inhalation and many others were hospitalised in a critical condition.
"Sadly, one of our clients, a trader in his fifties, who had been there for two or three months, was among the victims."
In 2003, Dubai's hightest court found the defendant, two Emiratis, an Omani and another resident guilty of the charges. They were sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay Dh2.1 million in blood money to the victims' families. The court also ordered them to pay Dh210,000 as compensation for the damage they caused to the Bur Dubai police detention centre.
According to the prosecution source, for a convict to be allowed to walk out of jail before serving his term, he has to file a plea to the Dubai Courts and the public prosecution. "The public prosecution studies all the circumstances surrounding the case and his conduct behind bars; how he had been behaving; how imprisonment had affected him; whether he is sick; etc.
"The prosecution gives its opinion as per the law and refers it to the courts. The courts then decide," the source said.
According to the lawyer, the prison administration can file a plea on behalf of a certain inmate regarding his early release. "The inmate could be under probation and watch for some time. The plea has to go through the public prosecution, which gives its recommendation. It is then the courts' call."

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