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The New Arab Staff

4,000 Afghan prisoners launch hunger strike

Thousands of detainees are hunger striking in an Afghan prison [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 October, 2020

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The largest prison in Afghanistan is witnessing a mass protest by detainees that launched a hunger strike.
Hundreds of detainees at a prison in the Afghan capital launched a hunger strike to protest the deteriorating situation inside the facility, as well as a recent amnesty order.

At least 3,800 prisoners at the Puljirkhi prison - the largest in the country - are taking part in the mass protest, sources told The New Arab's Arabic language site Al-Araby al-Jadeed. 

"The situation inside is very bad in terms of food and health care," one prisoner told the Arabic outlet.

"There is a lack of food and the bread distributed to prisoners is usually rotten. Healthcare is absent - this prompted more than 4,000 prisoners to go on hunger strike," he said.

The prisoner, who refused to be named, said the protest would continue until authorities make adequate changes to meet their demands.

The unnamed prisoner also accusedofficials of taking bribes from families in exchange for implementing a recent decree that was issued by President Ashraf Ghani, which the prisoner said was not applied fairly.

An anonymous prison official who spoke to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed said the number of detainees on hunger strike is 3,800, most of which are on death row or convicted in drug smuggling cases.

Meanwhile, Spokesman for the Afghan Prisons Administration Farhad Bayani said: "The presidential pardon does not apply to those accused in murder and drug trafficking cases and most of the hunger strikers are among them. The authorities cannot meet their demands.".

In a statement, the body said it would consider some demands "but some are not applicable".

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