Warrants out for death fire suspects

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WARRANTS have been issued for the arrests of three people one year after the death of a city teenager in an arson attack.

The three suspects are believed to have gone overseas after being questioned by police over the death of 18-year-old Imran Saleem.

The warrants have been issued for the arrest of Rafadh Saleem, 29, her sister Shafquat Saleem, 32, and her brother Tanveer Saleem, 28.

The three are all relatives of the teenager, who was killed in the arson attack on a flat in Wester Hailes in June 2001.

Police forces around the world and Interpol have been alerted that the three are wanted in connection with a serious crime.

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: "I can confirm that warrants have been issued for the arrest of two women and a man in connection with the death of Imran Saleem in June 2001."

Imran had been sleeping in an upstairs bedroom of the flat, in Barn Park, when petrol was poured through the letterbox and set alight.

The blaze ripped through the third-floor flat within seconds early on June 14, 2001. Mohammed Saleem, 64, his wife Safia, 52, and their daughter Mussart, 24, holding her one-year-old baby, jumped to safety, but Imran died after being trapped in the upstairs bedroom.

His funeral took place at a city mosque a week later.

Nobody has been charged in connection with the incident.

Lothian and Borders Police believe that the fatal fire may have been the result of a feud within the Asian community.

Just two weeks before the arson attack, police and fire crews had been called to the same address late at night when the family’s Renault 25 car was destroyed in a petrol bomb attack.

And days earlier, the same car had a bag of burning rubbish placed on its bonnet.

Rafadh, Shafquat and Tanveer Saleem disappeared from their home in Belmont Gardens, Corstorphine, on September 8.

They had earlier been detained for questioning by police in relation to the arson attack. Police believe that all three suspects may have gone overseas together.

According to sources close to the family, the three could be in Pakistan, where the family originally comes from.

However, other sources claim that they may have gone to northern Cyprus or Thailand, where they are also believed to have friends and family.

The warrants were issued by the procurator fiscal’s office after an 18-month investigation by detectives into Imran’s death. It means that the three suspects are now officially wanted by police in connection with Imran’s death and that the case against the three is now legally active.

Rafadh Saleem’s estranged husband, Hafiz Musaddaq, told of his heartbreak last year after she left with the couple’s three-year-old twin sons, Zubair and Thamoor.

Mr Musaddaq, 34, who works in a grocery shop in Craigmillar, had arranged to meet the boys at his wife’s home on the night of September 8 last year.

But when he turned up to see them, he found that his wife, the boys and his wife’s brother and sister were gone.

In December, the Evening News reported that Mr Musaddaq had been told that one of his sons had died in a hospital in Turkey, but this was never confirmed by official sources. He has still heard no word of where his sons are.