Albania's dissident sets himself on fire

Albanian former dissident sets himself on fire, ex-political prisoners fast to demand compensation.

Albania's dissident sets himself on fire

World Bulletin / News Desk 

An Albanian former political prisoner set himself on fire on Monday after the government ruled out talks on his demands for compensation for his suffering under communism.

Gjergj Ndreca, 51, was among 20 former dissidents imprisoned during the communist era who had been fasting for 17 days to draw attention to their demands. The government says they have already received compensation.

The unemployed father of four stepped away from the group of hunger strikers and tried to set himself on fire. Flames rose up from his trousers to his upper body, TV images showed.

Police said he had severe burns, and doctors said it would take longer to determine whether he would survive.

Ndreca was imprisoned for six years under the rule of Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha for trying to defect from isolated Albania. Hoxha ruled for four decades until his death in 1985, and the communist regime fell in the early 1990s.

"We want a roof that does not let our children get wet when it rains. A job to live with dignity and to have the possibility of bringing bread and cheese home to our children," a statement published by the hunger strikers said.

Two former political prisoners threw sacks of flour at Berisha's car last month to protest against food shortages.

Prime Minister Sali Berisha ruled out negotiations with the hunger strikers last week. He said the government had already passed laws to compensate former political prisoners.

"Absolutely every one of them has received the first instalment. The law says the second one will be received by those over 65 years of age. Those who did not bring the files before 2010 will not get (compensation)," Berisha said.

Ndreca has previously punched a senior official from the Democratic Party, and tried to attack the finance minister. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Ekim 2012, 11:25