DUBAI // Eight inmates have been sentenced to three years in jail for setting fire to a detention centre after being refused cigarettes.
They were accused of risking the lives of other detainees and police officers at Al Raffa police station after starting the fire with a battery, a wire and newspaper.
The men began a hunger strike on August 17, demanding cigarettes and the right to make telephone calls until 2am.
The following day they covered the detention centre’s surveillance cameras with paper and toothpaste, then started the fire.
A Pakistani detainee testified that as he was leaving the toilets he saw D S, 32, the group’s Emirati leader, tell others to cover the cameras while another national, K M, 25, stood holding the battery and wire awaiting 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, A F, testified that 30 seconds before the fire started about 11pm, D S told him and others to get out of the centre.
Jailed for plotting to set fire to the police station, risking lives and causing Dh11,096 of damage to public property were the unemployed Emiratis D S, K M, S J, 41, R A, 20, and A S, 35; the Iranian F M, 39; the Pakistani F S, 20; and H L, 29, from Sri Lanka.
They had denied the charges before the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance in August last year.