Toll in Turkish Raid on Hunger-Striking Prisoners Hits at Least 20

Published December 21st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A woman inmate burned to death in a jail in western Turkey, raising the toll to at least 20 in a security crackdown on hunger-striking prisoners, Turkish Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk said Thursday. 

"The female prisoner was set on fire by her own radical leftist comrades in Canakkale prison," Turk told reporters here. 

The earlier toll in the operation against 20 jails ago had stood at 19 dead -- 17 prisoners and two soldiers. 

Turkish officials have said that most of the prisoners died after setting fire to themselves, while the two soldiers were shot. 

Turkish paramilitaries were still battling Thursday -- the third day of the raid -- to get into the two remaining jails where inmates had barricaded themselves in, Canakkale and Umraniye prison in Istanbul. 

The aim of the operation was to end a two-month hunger-strike by mainly left-wing prisoners protesting against proposed prison reforms. 

The government plans to scrap existing dormitories that sleep up to 60 people and introduce smaller cells of up to three inmates. 

Inmates are resisting the changes on the grounds of isolation and likely maltreatment -- ANKARA (AFP) 

 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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