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13 die in Turkish prison blaze
Turkey’s justice minister Sunday promised a full investigation of a weekend prison fire that killed 13 inmates.
Authorities say Saturday’s overnight blaze at the Sanliurfa prison may have been deliberately set by overcrowded inmates who had barricaded themselves in a ward using beds and mattresses. There were 18 inmates in the ward designed to hold a dozen prisoners, Sunday’s Zaman reported.
“If there was any abuse of duty or negligence [on the part of authorities], they will be meticulously investigated,” said Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin. “If there was any negligence, there will never be a cover up.”
The five inmates who survived the fire shut themselves in a bathroom and suffered some injuries. Three guards were hurt fighting the fire.
The newspaper said Turkish prison inmates in the past have set bedding on fire in riots to protest poor conditions. The Sanliurfa prison was built to house about 600 inmates but had more than 1,000 prisoners.
“We have a capacity problem in Turkey’s prisons,” Ergin told a news conference Sunday.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International