. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prison Closure Nixed

ISTANBUL () -- Justice Minister Sevket Kazan on Wednesday said he would not close a notorious prison in central Turkey, rejecting one of the demands in a two-month hunger strike that has already claimed three lives.

"Eskisehir is not a prison to be closed. This is a prison well above Western standards," Kazan was quoted by state-run Anatolian news agency as saying at Istanbul airport.

Imprisoned members and alleged members of militant left-wing groups have been on a hunger strike since May in protest at prison conditions and the dispersal of inmates among various prisons. A third protester died earlier Wednesday and at least six others are said to be in a coma and near death.