Iraqi refugee acquitted in fatal fire

A court acquitted 39-year-old Abdulbaset A., accused of neglect in a fire that left a 24-year-old dead, while destroying or damaging 11 homes and five stores.

The fire in Leeuwarden, Friesland started in an apparel store when a gas heater ignited clothing while the defendant was allegedly operating the device. Flames quickly spread throughout, while smoke thickened.

The defendant, a resident nearby Drachten, was charged with neglect, which the prosecuting attorney argued as the underlying cause of the fire. The court rejected the argument, deciding there was not enough evidence to prove Abdulbaset A.'s actions led to the incident.

Prosecutors were pushing for a six-month prison sentence and a €97,000 fine to pay for some of the damage.

Both the city of Leeuwarden and the owners of the building have also been found not responsible in the fire’s severity.

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