December 27, 2004 in Nation/World

Protester sets herself aflame

Associated Press
 

ISTANBUL, Turkey – A woman doused her body with gasoline and set herself ablaze in a busy Istanbul square on Sunday to protest Turkey’s maximum security prison system, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Passers-by rushed to put out the fire and the 26-year-old survived, the agency reported. There was no immediate information on her condition.

The woman, identified as Sergul Albayrak, reportedly served time in prison for being a member of the banned Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, a Marxist group that calls for the overthrow of the Turkish government, Anatolia said.

She unfurled a banner that read “End Isolation” before pouring gasoline on her body, setting it alight and collapsing on the ground in Taksim square.

The DHKP-C is leading a protest against Turkey’s maximum security prisons, where inmates are kept in cells housing one or three inmates. The inmates say the small cells leave them isolated and vulnerable to abuse. Many were moved there from large wards.

Some 65 people have died in a hunger strike against the prisons that began in 2000.

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