Turkey prison mutiny fire causes 13 prisoner deaths

Monday, June 18, 2012

ISTANBUL--Thirteen prisoners died from smoke inhalation after inmates started a fire during a mutiny in a jail in southeastern Turkey, officials said Sunday.

The prisoners set fire to blankets and beds in a cell in the Sanliurfa city prison late Saturday, but it was brought under control before it could spread throughout the jail, which holds 1,000 inmates, the Anatolia news agency reported, quoting governor Celalettin Guvenc.

Another five prisoners were hospitalized, as well as 12 prison staff who were injured during the rescue.

The fire broke out during a fight in a dormitory with 18 inmates, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told media, relaying a survivor's account.

“I was also informed by the governor that the conditions in the cell were not suitable to accommodate 18 inmates,” he added.

After an initial investigation, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin noted that there was resistance from the prisoners when security forces tried to remove them.

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