Hunger strike in Kosovo prison

Several hundred prisoners in the Dubrava Prison, near Istok in Kosovo, are on a hunger strike today.

They demand the passing of an amnesty law and its immediate implementation, and better prison conditions for the inmates.

The strike broke out yesterday, and the prisoners, just as they did last year, want inmates who served two thirds of their sentences pardoned, and calculation of prison term years as equal to nine calendar months.

Kosovo’s Ministry of Justice told prisoners that writing of the law was in progress. The law will determine the terms of amnesty.

It will give the right to president to pardon prisoners – something previously authorized by the UNMIK chief.

The electronic media in Priština are today reporting that the striking prisoners "called them on their cell phones" and said that there "further worsening" of the situation in the biggest prison in Kosovo was possible, "if their demands were not immediately responded to".

At the same time the Nekibe Kelmendi, the minister of justice, called on the prisoners to end the strike. She promised that the law would be adopted rapidly and that the government would review their demands and provide them with a quick response.