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World Rwandan asylum seeker admits to setting French cathedral on fire

16:35  26 july  2020
16:35  26 july  2020 Source:   aljazeera.com

Man in custody after Nantes cathedral fire: French media

  Man in custody after Nantes cathedral fire: French media The suspect is a Rwandan refugee who worked as a volunteer and was in charge of locking up the cathedral.The man, a Rwandan refugee, worked as a volunteer for the cathedral and had been in charge of locking up the building on Friday night, TV channel LCI reported on Sunday, citing a prosecutor.

An asylum - seeker from Rwanda who has reportedly been living in France for several years was While the cause has yet to be determined, French authorities have ruled out criminal motives. 12:00 GMT Asylum - Seeker From Rwanda Confesses to Setting Nantes Cathedral on Fire , His Lawyer

The impressive Nantes Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul fell victim to a blaze back on July 18, with several fire brigades scrambled to put out the flames. As the story developed, investigators established that the man – who worked as an altar server – was the one who closed up the building for the night.

a group of people standing in front of a building: The fire had destroyed the cathedral's famed organ, which dated from 1621 and had survived the French Revolution and World War II bombardment [AFP] © [Sebastien Salom-Gomis/AFP] The fire had destroyed the cathedral's famed organ, which dated from 1621 and had survived the French Revolution and World War II bombardment [AFP]

The lawyer of a volunteer at a Gothic cathedral in western France's Nantes town has said he has confessed to setting the building on fire that severely damaged its 17th-century organ and blew out stained glass.

The 39-year-old accused, an asylum seeker from Rwanda who has lived in France for several years, was arrested earlier this month after laboratory analysis determined that arson was the likely cause of the blaze, the local prosecutor's office said.

Volunteer confesses to setting French cathedral on fire

  Volunteer confesses to setting French cathedral on fire A volunteer church assistant has confessed to setting the fire that severely damaged a Gothic cathedral in the western French city of Nantes, his lawyer said Sunday, though his motives remain a mystery. "He admitted during his first appearance for questioning before the investigating judge that he set three fires in the cathedral: at the main organ, the smaller organ, and the electrical panel," Sennes told the Presse-Ocean newspaper on Sunday. - 'Stone by stone' -The blaze came 15 months after the devastating fire at the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, which raised questions about the security risks for other historic churches across France.

PARIS — French prosecutors put a Rwandan refugee under formal investigation early on Sunday after the man confessed to setting fire to the 15-century Nantes cathedral The 39-year-old man, who worked as a volunteer warden at the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, had been questioned

The suspect, an asylum - seeker from Rwanda who has lived in France for several years, had apparently been tasked with locking up the cathedral on the night of the fire . French media quoted the Nantes prosecutor as saying the suspect had admitted to lighting three fires : on two cathedral

"My client has cooperated," lawyer Quentin Chabert told the Presse-Ocean newspaper on Sunday, without elaborating on motives for attempting to burn down the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

"He bitterly regrets his actions ... My client is consumed with remorse," Chabert said.

Prosecutors opened an arson inquiry after the early morning fire on July 18 after finding that it broke out in three different places in the church, which the volunteer had locked up the night before.

He was taken in for questioning the next day but later released without charge, with the cathedral's rector saying, "I trust him like I trust all the helpers."

But Nantes prosecutor Pierre Sennes said in a statement he had been charged with "destruction and damage by fire" and faces up to 10 years in prison and 150,000 euros ($175,000) in fines.

Fire causes damage to Gothic French cathedral

  Fire causes damage to Gothic French cathedral A fire has broken out inside the St Peter and St Paul Cathedral in western France. The 15th century cathedral in Nantes had some of its stained glass windows shattered as large plumes of smoke billowed out. © Provided by Sky News Australia The blaze started on Saturday morning.Tourists watched on as dozens of firefighters fought to bring the blaze under control.The Gothic building also suffered a serious fire back in 1972.

A volunteer assistant suspected of setting a French cathedral on fire was rearrested, then indicted and detained in pre-trial custody by prosecutors overnight Saturday to Sunday. The fire broke out on July 18, hours after the volunteer altar server had closed up the building for the night.

French prosecutors put a Rwandan refugee under formal investigation early on Sunday after the The 39-year-old man, who worked as a volunteer warden at the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul The newspaper, citing prosecutor Pierre Sennès, said the suspect admitted being responsible for the

"He admitted during his first appearance for questioning before the investigating judge that he set three fires in the cathedral: at the main organ, the smaller organ, and the electrical panel," Sennes told Presse-Ocean on Sunday.

Famed organ destroyed

The blaze came 15 months after the devastating fire at the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, which raised questions about the security risks for other historic churches across France.

While firefighters were able to contain the Nantes blaze after just two hours and save the cathedral's main structure, the famed organ, which dated from 1621 and had survived the French Revolution and World War II bombardment, was destroyed.

Also lost were priceless artefacts and paintings, including a work by the 19th-century artist Hippolyte Flandrin and stained glass windows that contained remnants of 16th-century glass.

Work on the cathedral began in 1434 and continued over the following centuries until 1891.

It had already been damaged by a more serious fire in 1972, when officials added concrete reinforcements while redoing the roof over the next 13 years.

The French government said it will ensure the cathedral's restoration, though few elements of the main organ are likely to be saved, said Philippe Charron, head of the regional DRAC state heritage agency.

"It will take several weeks to secure the site ... and several months of inspections that will be carried out stone by stone," he said.

Reconstruction will take several years, he said.

New Zealand grants asylum to Behrouz Boochani, Kurdish-Iranian refugee who was detained on Manus Island .
Former Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani has his claim for asylum accepted by New Zealand and is granted a visa to stay in the country. The Kurdish-Iranian journalist spent six years in detention in Papua New Guinea for asylum seeker processing after attempting to enter Australia by boat in 2013.He catapulted to worldwide fame in 2019 after his book, No Friend But The Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison, won the Victorian Prize for Literature, Australia's richest literature prize.

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