Death Toll in Turkish Prison Crackdown Reaches 29
The death toll in last week's security crackdown against hundreds of leftist hunger-strikers in Turkish jails rose to 29 Monday after another prisoner died from injuries, Anatolia news agency reported.
The inmate, a 22-year-old woman, died in a hospital in the western city of Izmir from burns sustained after she set herself on fire, the agency said.
The toll stood at 28 on Saturday.
Officials have said that 16 inmates died after they set themselves on fire, while 10 others and two soldiers were killed when prisoners used arms and explosives to resist security forces.
Paramilitary troops on Tuesday launched a crackdown on 20 jails across the country to end a massive "death fast" against a controversial prison reform.
Under the new measures, cells for a maximum of three people will replace the current prison dormitories, which house up to 60 inmates.
The prisoners, backed by human rights groups, say the new jails will make them more vulnerable to mistreatment.
But Ankara maintains that the packed dormitories have led to lax security, enabling inmates to smuggle in weapons and turn compounds into near no-go zones, where riots and hostage-taking have become commonplace.
Despite the crackdown, some 350 prisoners have continued the "death fast." Another 1,650 are on a hunger strike of solidarity, Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk said Sunday -- ANKARA (AFP)
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