A number of students from a public Sharjah high school are facing arson charges for starting two fires on the school premises - suffocating students and school staff members.
Both incidents happened last week within 48 hours, causing concerned authorities, including the police and ministry of education to initiate an investigation to identify the arsonists.
Dr. Saeed Al Kabi, Sharjah Educational Council Chairman said that the first fire was thought to be an accident but suspicions arose after the second one, suggesting that it had been started by a number of students.
He said that students and staff members who suffered from asphyxiation in the fire were rushed to the hospital.
"A delegation from the Sharjah education council visited them and ensured that they were in good health," added Al Kabi, saying that authorities will not tolerate such destructive behaviour and that the council is following up on the investigations carried out by the ministry, police and civil defence.
"If the investigations prove that the fires were started by students, the issue will not be taken lightly, considering that they are high school students who are aware of the dangers of fire to others lives and property," said Al Kaabi.
School staff members said that they managed to control the fire, which started in the restroom and spread to the praying room, with the help of some students who suffered from asphyxiation due to inhaling heavy smoke.
They were taken to the hospital.
Hassan Elhais, legal consultant from Al Rowad Advocates said that as per the UAE penal code articles 304 and 424, the students who started the fire can face criminal charges for starting a fire and damaging property, which are punishable offences with up to seven years in prison.
"The article 304 states, that those who deliberately start fires in buildings, factories, workshops, stores, inhabited or uninhabited buildings are to be sentenced to prison for not less than seven years," said Elhais.
Elhais added that since the students are below the age of 18, then as per the Juveniles Federal Law number 9 for the year 1976, if they are convicted of the crime, then they will face half the term stated for this crime in penal code articles 304 and 424.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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