<m2m-nl> English report on Schiphol Fire trial by M2M

jo van der spek jo at xs4all.nl
Wed Aug 12 07:10:57 CEST 2009

bij uitzondering een engelse tekst, bestemd voor al uw buitenlandse
kennissen en vrienden, die willen weten wat in Nederland kan.
Het Parool publiceerde het manifest van de Campagne Free Ahmed Issa
gisteren (dinsdag 11 aug) op Het Laatste woord. De NPS Radio zendt
vanavond om half 10n het laatste van 4 portretten van overlevenden uit, om
22 uur op Radio 5 (Dichtbij Nederland). En onze M2M mediabus staat vandaag
weer voor het Paleis van Justitie, Prinsengracht 426 te Amsterdam. Komt
dat zien!

English report on Schiphol Fire trial by M2M

Today, Thursday 12th the victims and survivors of the Schiphol Fire will
speak collectively to the judges of Ahmed Issa. Mrs. Toekaja who lost her
son and found the surviving migrants in the process of the commemorations
of the fire, will speak also  on their behalf and claim the release of
Ahmed Issa, decent treatment of the relatives of the eleven dead and
recognition of guilt by the state.

The High Court of Amsterdam has questioned three experts on the possible
causes of the Schiphol Fire during the first two days of the appeal case
against Ahmed Issa.
Three conflicting visions were presented based on different methods of
investigation.   Prof. Olivier Delemont, from the University of Lausanne,
who was charged by the court to serach for possible technical failures
that could have caused the fire. Delemont did not find any so the
prosecution followed his logic of elimination: if there is no technical
explanation, it must have been a human action that set fire and killed
eleven sans-papiers. And since the fire started in cel 11 of Block K, it
must have been Ahmed Issa’s cigarette that set fire to the sheets on his
On the first day however it was established that Delemont had overlooked
the possibility of an electrical failure in the lights on the ceiling.
This could have produced the fatal spark. The elimination method has thus
been eliminated, Delemont admitted.

On the second day Fred Vos testified as to his conclusion that the fire
started not in the cell, but in the space between the container cell and
the roof. Fred Was is a former officer of the fire brigade and he sharply
criticized Delemont for overlooking essential evidence and neglecting
crucial questions. He told the judges that he found electrical wiring
close to wood or isolation material.  Rodents may have caused a short cut
or overheating by nibbling on the coating of these wires.
In the afternoon Bas van den Heuvel presented his method of image
analysis. This expert makes a living with applying high tech software on
camera footage, using pixel compression to make visible what is not
visible to the normal eye. Van den Heuvel has analysed the footage of the
security cameras in the evening of the fire, October 26th 2005. He stated
that smoke was visible in Block K already at ten past 8, indicating that
the start of the fire lies at least 3 hours before Ahmed Issa fell asleep,
after tipping his cigarette bud away.

None of the experts was convinced by their respective collegues and that
was the news, according to the Dutch press covering the case.

Today and tomorrow Ahmed Issa who was present all the time, showing
himself amazingly powerful after nearly four years of misery, will hear
the evidence against him, presented by Mr. Hans Wesseling. Assisted by his
lawyer Eduard Damman he will defend himself by exposing the teatment he
received from the police investigators who questioned him after days, in
which he was held in artificial coma to survive the pains of the fire
wounds on his arms and feet. And the expert opinion of the psychology
professors Wagenaar en Van Koppen will be highlighted by his lawyer. They
have concluded that the memory of the suspect, who admitted throwing away
this cigarette, is highly unreliable. He seems to have had this habit of
tipping away cigarettes, like many other smokers do. So he could not
possibly remeber accurately whether or not he did this also in the evening
of the fire.
The defense hopes to convince the judges, presided by Mrs. Margriet
Houben, that technically and humanly Ahmed Issa cannot be found guilty. If
he succeeds, the responsibility and the blame for the fire will rest
completely on the state that detains undocumented migrants in unsafe
prisons, and sells them tobacco. All inmates of Block K were smoking and
thatb is what made one of the exclaim: “If Ahmed Issa is guilty, that we
are all guilty.”

The prosecution and the defence will read their conclusions on Friday
14th. The High Court sentences on August 28th.


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