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Turkish Prisoners Release 6 Hostages, Still Hold 23

January 7, 1996

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ Renegade prisoners released six guards Sunday and negotiated with government officials over the fate of 23 others taken hostage during riots at two prisons.

Two people were wounded and 15 arrested Sunday during street protests held to support the prison inmates, news reports said.

The hostages were seized during rioting Friday, a day after a wild melee at Istanbul’s Umraniye Prison that was linked to complaints over living conditions.

The inmates demanded an investigation of the killing of three prisoners during the riot at Umraniye. Government negotiators called for the immediate release of the hostages. All of the abductors are either accused or have been convicted of belonging to banned leftist organizations.

State television said the guards were released at Bayrampasa Prison in Istanbul. Five guards and a warden were still being held there, while 17 prison officials were held hostage at Buca prison in Izmir.

It was unclear just how the two disturbances were linked.

Police arrested 15 protesters as violent demonstrations continued for a second day in Istanbul. The Anatolia news agency said a policeman was shot and wounded and a woman was hit by a stray bullet as she gazed out her window. Two city buses were torched.

Similar demonstrations left a person injured in Istanbul on Saturday as protesters threw firebombs at banks and grocery stores.

Turkey’s prison director, Zeki Gungor, has resigned because of the riots, private television channel ATV reported Sunday.

Update hourly