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Russian Prisoners Begin Hunger Strike

Inmates at a prison in the southwestern Russian city of Novocherkassk have started a hunger strike to protest alleged rights violations, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

About 10 prisoners are demanding a meeting with representatives of the prosecutor's office to report on abuses in the prison. They say the prison administration is hiding the violations.

Valentina Cherevatenko, a member of the Public Monitoring Commission at the Federal Correction Service (FSIN) for Rostov Oblast, told RFE/RL that the commission had previously received complaints from the Novocherkassk prison.

She added that she was present twice when the commission considered complaints made by the convicts.

Prisoners say they are unhappy with the poor work of medical personnel, the system for receiving packages from relatives, and the high cost of phone calls.