France: Sudanese refugee won’t be deported despite burning down 16 apartments, multiple cars, part of a church, and seriously injuring a student

A serial arsonist who nearly killed dozens of people will not be deported, as his life would be under threat if he is returned to Sudan

By John Cody
4 Min Read

In a case that involved at least 27 victims, a 35-year-old Sudanese man has been convicted for multiple arson attacks across the French city of Pau, which were set over the period of at least two months, between March and May 2022. During one of the attacks, a young female student was forced to jump from her window, 7 meters (22 feet) off the ground, resulting in her breaking both her ankles and leaving her confined to using a cane, even as of today.

The man has now been convicted for his serial arson attacks, but the judge in the case refuses to deport him, saying that being sent back to Sudan would represent too grave a threat to his life.

Wave of arson attacks

The first incident occurred on the night of March 18, 2022, when he set a building on fire at Rue Darrichon and Passage des Alliés along with two vehicles nearby, according to French news outlet La Republique des Pyrenees.

On the night of May 3, he lit an entire building on fire at Rue Henri-Faisans, which was engulfed in flames. Dozens of students were trapped inside but only one was seriously injured. The fire had started in an Indian restaurant on the first floor but soon spread to the rest of the building.

On May 12, the Sudanese man set seven vehicles on fire in the Zaragoza district, and then on the same night, he broke into the Saint-Pierre Church and set fire to the presbytery.

In total, he set fire to eight vehicles over the course of the attacks.

‘The fear of dying stuck in her apartment’

Numerous victims testified in the case, with many of them relating how the man had destroyed their lives, both financially and psychologically.

One of the victims, Laurence, was so seriously injured in the fire on Rue Faisans that she said during the trial that it was a “miracle” she could even attend. Her lawyer, Me Marrien, said Laurence experienced “the fear of dying stuck in her apartment,” as flames quickly spread inside. The lawyer then asked: “How could he have seen what he did and do it again?”

Laurence, who was a student attending university when the Sudanese arsonist set her building on fire, was forced to jump from her apartment window. The jump, which broke both her ankles, has left her still using a cane, and doctors say it is unclear whether she will regain her full ability to walk during her lifetime. The building the man attacked was a dormitory packed full of French students.

The judge in the case sentenced the Sudanese man to 10 years in prison, short of the 12 years requested by the prosecution.

Laurence said “It’s a fair sentence” even if she had preferred the 12 years requested by deputy prosecutor Sébastien Baraldi. However, despite the arson attack that nearly cost the victim her life and left her disabled, she said she did not want the arsonist permanently banned from French soil.

The judge also refused to issue a deportation order in the case despite the serious nature of the crime and the prosecution’s recommendation that the asylum seeker be deported, with the judge saying that his deportation to Sudan “would have resulted in his death.”

During the trial, the Sudanese suspect offered no reason as to why he participated in numerous arson attacks. He simply said he had had too much alcohol.

Share This Article