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13 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Some 180 inmates of a prison in the Russian city of Dimitrovgrad say they have started a hunger strike to protest living conditions.

The state prosecutor's office said today that 15 prisoners stopped eating on 11 September. Others followed yesterday and today.

Vasilii Zima, an official in the prosecutor's office, said that authorities are investigating possible abuses at Dimitrovgrad.

Zima said that the inmates are asking for segregation at mealtimes of inmates of different sexual orientations, excusal from cleaning toilet, and cigarettes and tea for inmates in solitary confinement. The official said that granting these requests would violate prison rules.

Russian prisons are notoriously overcrowded and severe.

In June, several hundred inmates mutilated themselves in a prison in Lgov in the southwestern Kursk Oblast to protest against violence by prison staff.

(AFP)

See also:

"The State Of Russian Prisons: Barter To Survive"

"Rights Group Compares State Of Russian Prisons To Gulags"
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