x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Teenage prisoners set fire to mattresses, court told

Men were in jail on drug charges, prosecutors say.

DUBAI // Two inmates set fire to their mattresses at the Ports police detention centre, a court was told this morning.

Prosecutors charged them with igniting the mattresses and damaging property. They will be referred to the Court of Misdemeanours on the charge of endangering lives of others.

MO, Emirati, 19, was not present to enter his plea, but EA, also 19, an Emirati, denied the charges.

"I am innocent, your honour," he told Judge Hamad Abdul Latif.

He also asked to be examined by a doctor to disprove charged of drug consumption, on which he was originally arrested.

Records said that on December 19, 2010, while both men were in custody, they started the fire, causing Dh130 worth of damage.

A Dubai police major testified that when he saw the burning mattresses, he tried to extinguish the fire, but MO and EA assaulted him to stop him.

Another officer said he saw EA holding the lighter and standing next to the burning mattresses.

The court referred EA to a doctor and adjourned the hearing until October 17.

salamir@thenational.ae