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Afghan Prisoners On Hunger Strike To Protest Executions

Kabul's Pol-e Charkhi prison (file photo) (epa) KABUL, October 10, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Afghan authorities said today that dozens of inmates in Kabul's main Pol-e Charkhi prison have been on a hunger strike to protest the execution of 15 convicts on October 7. The 15 had reportedly been convicted of murder, kidnapping, and rape.

"Several prisoners on the second and third floors of the third block are on a hunger strike," the head of Afghanistan's prisons, Abdul Salam Asmat, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan. "They are convicted criminals and most of them belong to the Taliban."

Asmat said the hunger-striking prisoners have met with the representatives of the International Red Cross to discuss their demands.

"Their demands are unacceptable and illegal," Asmat said. "For instance, they want us to give them a list of the convicts who would be executed next. This demand is not acceptable. They also want to meet with members of parliament. We are trying to ask the parliamentarians to go to the main prison [to meet with the inmates]."

Radio Free Afghanistan reports that the inmates had criticized the way in which the executions were carried out, saying they lacked transparency.

The United Nations and Afghan human-rights activists have expressed concern about the judicial processes that led to the latest executions.

Asmat said the hunger-striking inmates have refused to negotiate with prison officials, saying they would only talk with the Red Cross representatives and a member of the Afghan parliament.

Last month, Pol-e Charkhi prisoners staged a protest against the alleged mistreatment of inmates by prison guards and workers.

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

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