In protest, inmates in Mardin set fire in prison

July 15, 2012, Sunday/ 12:52:00

A fire that broke out in an E-type prison in the eastern province of Mardin on Sunday morning injured at least one prisoner.

Firefighters extinguished the fire in the prison, where some of the convicts have close links to a pro-Kurdish party.

At least three ambulances were dispatched to the scene, but it was not immediately clear how many wounded were taken to hospitals. Mardin Deputy Governor Müfit Gültekin told reporters that the convicts started the fire in four wards to protest incidents in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. “But this is not a confirmed report,” he added.

In Diyarbakır on Saturday, riot police fired water cannons and teargas as they clashed with stone-throwing supporters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Pro-Kurdish deputies were caught in the riot as police and demonstrators battled on the streets of Diyarbakır, where the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) had sought to hold a rally.

Some of the demonstrators tried to pull up paving stones and break them to throw at the police; others pushed over trash containers in an attempt to barricade some streets.

Police, demonstrators and at least one BDP deputy were hurt in the rioting, and an unknown number of protesters were detained, witnesses said.

Gültekin added one person was injured at the prison, without saying whether the wounded individual is a prison guard or a convict.

A fire that broke out after a fight among prisoners in a Şanlıurfa prison last month claimed the lives of 13 inmates.

The prisoners in Şanlıurfa set their bedding on fire following a fight in a ward housing 18 inmates. The five surviving prisoners were injured.

The incident spawned a new wave of fires started by prisoners in various prisons across Turkey to protest poor prison conditions.

Last September, five convicts were also killed in a fire when they were being transferred from the eastern province of Van to a prison in İstanbul. The convicts were killed when the prisoner transport vehicle carrying them caught fire due to a technical problem.

The tragic incident took place in the central Anatolian province of Kayseri and brought the problems of prisoners and prisons to Turkey's agenda.

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