Youngsters face stiff jailtime for burning man

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Four guys, on trial for setting another on fire in The Hague last year heard demands for up to five years in jail today.

The Prosecutor said in court in The Hague that the suspects should face punishment because they are responsible for the awful burn wounds and psychological trauma their victim suffered.

The four young men –three are 19 and one is 22- kidnapped their 24-year-old victim on June 3rd last year. Court records say one of the 19-year-olds suspected the man had stolen from him, so he roused his friends and went to pick up their suspect. They took him to a basement, tied him up and then cranked up the stereo so nobody could hear him scream as they beat him and tried to scare him with a fake gun.

When one of the tormenters noticed a jerrycan with gasoline, he doused the man with the flammable fluid and flicked on his lighter; the victim’s T-shirt caught aflame and he got burns to his face, neck, arms and shoulders. He was able to pull off the shirt, but as he tried to flee his tormenters the 22-year-old gave him a “karate” kick. He made it to the hospital, where was put in an induced coma.

The prosecutor argued that all four suspects were responsible; the one who stood guard outside the basement, the three who were inside tormenting the victim and the two who watched as the third set him ablaze.

He demanded five years jail for two 19-year-olds for the beatings and burning. For the third 19-year-old he demanded 20 months juvenile detention. He called for 18 months in jail for the 22-year-old, who though he only stood guard should still be held liable. The prosecutor also wants the suspects to pay their victim €150,000 in damages; the man suffered serious injuries and has psychological problems, he argued.

The Prosecutor's Office pres release did not say when sentencing will be.