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Man (77) suspected of arson risks two year jail sentence

The suspect, who is facing arson charges, set fire to a vehicle belonging to his neighbours on the night of 4 to 5 July 2018. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

A 77-year-old man who set fire to a vehicle belonging to his neighbour stood before the Brussels Correctional Court on Monday.

The man, who had been living beside a Turkish family on Ninoofsesteenweg in Roosdal for ten years, set fire to their car on the night of 4 to 5 July 2018, reports Nieuwsblad.

“My clients were shocked and immediately installed a security camera,” said the lawyer of the Turkish family, Sevda Karsikaya.

“The security camera allowed them to catch their neighbour three days later, on July 7, when he wanted to set fire to my clients’ last vehicle. The man had cloths soaked in gasoline and a lighter,” added Karsikaya.

In addition, earlier in the summer, the family’s satellite antenna was cut, a nail was put into their car tire and a product was poured into the fuel tank of one of their cars, disabling the vehicle, reports HLN.

The suspect’s lawyer argued that the 77-year-old showed signs of dementia, however, the court psychiatrist’s report ruled out the condition.

“The defendant has already undergone a psychiatric examination which shows that he is accountable,” said prosecutor Karel Claes, reports RingTV.

“He also did not target anyone else in the area, only these people, and admits that he has a problem with them because they are of foreign origin,” said Claes, who demanded a 24-month prison sentence with probationary deferment.

The 77-year-old denies the accusations.

The verdict will be announced on 14 November 2019.

Evie McCullough
The Brussels Times