Kosovo prisoners strike for "promised" amnesty law, better conditions
www.chinaview.cn 2008-06-23 20:47:32   Print

    PRISTINA, June 23 (Xinhua) -- More than 560 Kosovo prisoners were on a hunger strike for a second day on Monday, demanding the passage of a "promised" amnesty law and better prison conditions.

    Prison Commissioner Resmi Hoxha, who confirmed the start of the hunger strike, said the prisoners have been refusing to eat since Sunday morning, and the number of prisoners joining the strike has reached 563.

    Prisoners believe many of 800 prisoners at the Dubrava Prison, 90 km west of capital Pristina, may benefit if the amnesty law is passed, as Kosovo's President Fatmir Sejdiu promised last year.

    "Last year, President Sejdiu promised to us the amnesty law would pass as Kosovo became independent, but he hasn't fulfilled the promise," said one of the prisoners on condition of anonymity.

    The strikers, who also complained about the poor and antiquated facilities of the prison, demand the conditional release of all prisoners who have served more than two-thirds of their sentences.

    Currently, striking prisoners have cut off contact with prison authorities, saying they were being blackmailed into stopping the strike.

    The strikers are ready to meet only with Sejdiu or Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, according to the anonymous prisoner. The strikers claimed their actions would not stop until their demands are fulfilled.

    Kosovo's Justice Minister Nekibe Kelmendi sent a letter to the strikers, asking them to stop the hunger strike and wait some more days.

    In the letter, she said the amnesty law draft was in its final phase and would be sent to parliament for approval within days.

    Last year, some 500 prisoners held a one-week hunger strike, but it was stopped soon after due to Kosovo's defining of its political status.

Editor: Sun Yunlong
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