23 November 2005 Expatica News + ANP
AMSTERDAM â€" An Algerian man, suspected of involvement in terrorist activities, is among the group of five inmates still at large following the fire at the Schiphol detention centre in late October, a news programme has claimed.
The 30-year-old man, identified only as Mustafa A., was being monitored by the Dutch security service (AIVD) prior to his escape, 'Nova' reported on Tuesday night. The news programme based its claim on information from anonymous sources.
Eleven people, rejected asylum seekers and illegal immigrants, died in the fire at the detention centre in the early hours of 27 October.
Another 11 inmates managed to escape during the confusion. Six were
quickly recaptured, but the remaining five, including Mustafa A., have not been traced, 'Nova' said.
Spokespersons for the Justice Ministry in The Hague and the AIVD said they could comment on the claims made by 'Nova'.
Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has refused to date to give out any information about the escapees, citing their right to privacy.
'Nova' said Mustafa A. is included in the "terrorist databank" compiled by the AIVD and he is one of the 150 people the security service is most interested in.
The programme said A. has made use of numerous false identities in the past, and was earlier deported from Germany. The office of the national anti-terrorism coordinator (NCTb) has circulated details about A. internationally to aid in his re-capture.
But 'Nova' said A. was in the detention centre as an illegal alien and not as a terror suspect. This was because justice officials had not found any hard evidence linking him to terrorism. A. was opposing moves to deport him to Algeria.
Man denies deliberately starting detention centre fire
10 November 2005
AMSTERDAM — The Libyan man arrested on suspicion of starting the fire at the Schiphol detention centre is denying the charge.
Lawyer Robbert Ketwaru said in an interview on Radio 1 news that his 25-year-old client was due to have his first court appearance on Thursday.
The suspect, who has not been named, was placed in the Schiphol detention centre a day before the fire. He was due to be deported a day after the fire. He denies "deliberately" starting the blaze, Ketwaru said.
Eleven people died in the fire at the detention centre during the night of 25 and 26 October
The Libyan man suffered severe burn injuries and was treated at the Beverwijk burns unit. He was moved to the prison wing of Scheveningen Prison after his arrest on Monday.
Ketwaru revealed that his client "asked for and received a lighter" prior to the fire but he had not started it deliberately. The lawyer declined to outline the suspect account of the events leading up to the tragedy.
"He is very shocked that he is accused of having 11 deaths on his conscience. He is relatively depressive and very emotional," the lawyer said. The suspect made a statement to police which was incoherent in places.
Ketwaru said he could not reveal any more details as the investigation is ongoing. His client is being held in restrictive custody, a form of isolation.