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Dominican Inmates Demand Sex Rights

November 24, 1998

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) _ Demanding their right to have sexual relations with their partners, 70 women inmates created an uproar at a prison in the northern Dominican Republic.

The women launched a noisy protest Sunday, beating objects against the rails of their overcrowded prison cell.

``We want sex, that’s our main demand, and we’re going to fight for it because we are human beings just as men are,″ Janet Altagracia Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the protesters, said in a telephone call Monday from Rafey Prison in Santiago.

Male prisoners in the Dominican Republic are allowed to have sex with their partners, but judicial authorities had rejected the women’s demand, saying it would turn the prison into a maternity home.

``Don’t they know there are ways to prevent pregnancy?″ she asked.

There was no comment from Dominican officials on Monday.

The Dominican Commission for Human Rights, however, listened to their grievance and promised to present their petition to prison authorities.

``The law permits inmates, without sexual distinction, to have sexual relations with their partners,″ commission president Porfirio Rojas Nina said.

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