Minister: One Prisoner Dead in Turkish Raid to End Hunger Strike
A Turkish prisoner has burned to death after security forces stormed several prisons to end a two month-long hunger strike against proposed prison refoms, Turkish Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk said.
The inmate, held in Bayrampasa prison in Istanbul, died of self immolation after hundreds of police and paramilitary gendarmerie troops stormed the jail in the small hours of Tuesday, Turk told reporters here.
He did not identify the dead prisoner.
Turk added that two officers were injured during the raid on the Umraniye jail in Istanbul's Asian quarter.
He denied that there had been any other casualties, but underlined that security forces had so far completed their operations in only nine of the 20 jails they stormed.
Earlier Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Turkish Human Rights Association said that two female prisoners, one in the western city of Canakkale and the other in Usak also in western Turkey, had died after the operation was launched.
The spokeswoman said the inmate Fidan Kalesen, a member of an illegal extreme leftwing Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) died of her injuries after setting herself alight.
The same source had also claimed that another prisoner, Sevgi Erdogan held in a jail in the western Turkish city of Usak, starved to death after a 61-day fast.
More than 200 prisoners, mainly from the extreme-left, have been on a hunger strike in several Turkish jails for over 60 days to protest the opening of new jails with cells holding up to three people instead of their present dormitories sleeping up to 60 people -- ANKARA (AFP)
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