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‘Arson killer’ to be released from jail after 27 years

The prisoner was sentenced for killing nine people in a fire in Dubai

Image Credit: Gulf News
The story reported by Gulf News at the time of the crime.
Gulf News

Dubai: The long-term prisoner in Dubai Central Jail, who was sentenced for burning to death nine people 27 years ago will be released next week after the Dubai Public prosecution agreed on deporting him due to his deteriorating health.

Paul George, who is from India, was arrested 27 years ago after he was charged with premeditated murder. He was found guilty and placed on death row.

The Dubai Public Prosecution technical office on Wednesday approved his release and deportation next week to his home country due to his poor health condition as he underwent open heart surgery at Rashid Hospital recently, Gulf News has learnt.

George said that he was called on Wednesday by the public prosecutor to inform him about the decision to deport him.

George is the longest serving prisoner in Dubai Central Jail. The incident took place in October 1985 when, George, who was then 39, caused a fire to break out in shanty houses in Fareej Al Marar off Naif road in Deira while drunk.

The fire burnt to death nine Pakistanis — two mothers and their seven children aged between two and 14 within a few minutes. Another woman and a child suffered severe burns.

The carpenter, now 66, came to Dubai in 1979 to work in his brother’s furniture shop, leaving his ten-year-old daughter and his three-year-old son at home. George, who was known as the arson killer, describes what happened 27 years ago as an accident.

“I cannot believe it that I will be released. I regret what I did. I’m sick man and I want to end my life in my country,” he told Gulf News on Wednesday.

“My family was in India when I was sentenced to death. I did not see my daughter until 2000 when she got married. She now lives in Ajman and I have a granddaughter,” George said.

He said it was only in 2005 that he was able to meet his 30-year-old son who came to work in Dubai.

George said he was pardoned by the victims’ families in 1996, but he said that did not help him get out of jail.

“I always hoped that I will see my home country again. I was afraid to die inside the prison. I want to spend the rest of mys life with my family after 27 years behind bars.

“My daughter and my son are living in Dubai,” he said.

He recalled the day of the incident with sorrow.

“I was heavily drunk, unconscious and unaware of what I was doing when I committed the crime,” he said in a hesitant voice.

“I then went back to my shop to do some work but some children came and disturbed me. I chased them and slapped one of them on the face,” he said.

He said the father of the boy he slapped came along with other neighbours, humiliated him and warned him not to come close to their house.

“That depressed me, so I drank more alcohol until I collapsed and lost all my senses and set fire to the garbage behind the shanties,” he said.

"One of the women who was injured in the blaze told police I was responsible for the crime and that she had seen me commit it. I was arrested the next day,” George said.