Afghanistan: Prisoners on hunger strike, protest cold and poor conditions

600 prisoners on hunger strike in Takhar

December 30, 2011

Hundreds of prisoners on Wednesday went on hunger strike against a delay in investigation of their cases and poor living conditions in the central jail in northern Takhar province.

The jail superintendent, Brig. Gen. Abdul Rab, confirmed 600 inmates had gone on hunger strike. He said they were trying to convince the prisoners into calling off their strike. The inmates’ complaints would be investigated soon, he said.

One of the protesting prisoners told Pajhwok Afghan News over the telephone that they had gone on strike after prison officials refused to allow relatives to visit the inmates.

Without giving his name, the prisoner said relatives wanted to bring them gas cylinders for warming their cells. Rainwater leaked through cracks in the ceiling, he alleged. “As long as our demands are not met, we will not end the strike.”

However, the jail superintendent said prisoners were not allowed to use gas cylinders inside their cells. He promised the inmates would be provided with blankets and other warm items.

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