Prisoners on hunger strike because of 'gay member of staff' in jail canteen ({{commentsTotal}})

Few dozen detainees in Viru prison have gone to hunger strike because “they are not satisfied” with the member of staff who distributes food at the jail's canteen.

The prisoners complained to ERR's Russian-language portal that the canteen attendant's “personal hygiene leaves a lot to be desired” and “his sexual orientation is also disturbing”, which is why they cannot accept food handled by him.

The incarcerated man in question has asked the jail's administration to release him from his duties, but without success so far.

When asked for comment, the spokeswoman of Estonian Ministry of Justice Katrin Luht said that imprisoned inmates cannot just set their own rules instead of regulation imposed by law.

“The convicts have to learn how to peacefully co-exist with different people. The decision to choose its kitchen porters and other staff is in the hands of the prison's management, not prisoners. Therefore there are no plans to make changes to current arrangement,” Luht told ERR.

The inmates also claimed to ERR that the prison has tried to break the strike by imposing extra restrictions upon them, such as limiting their TV-viewing time, using their own fridge or the prison's shop, or even restraining the walks in fresh air.

But Luht rejected these claims. “According to law, the prison assures the access to shop at least once a month. The inmates who store their food in fridge, can use it if they haven't violated any rules.” Luht also maintained that as per law, the prisoners can go for a walk an hour a day.

Viru Prison is a regional prison in Jõhvi, Estonia, completed in 2006. It incorporates 1,000 closed beds and a 75-bed open unit. To gain the best security possible, all buildings are connected with upper-air gallery, leading from one building to another.

Editor: S. Tambur

Easter Monday a public holiday? But you're forgetting productionEaster Monday a public holiday? But you're forgetting production
Estonia’s Easter Monday time loop: Discussing an additional day off

Every year, Estonia reliably asks itself the question whether or not Easter Monday should be made a public holiday. Opinions differ. While one side emphasizes the importance of family time, the other thinks an additional day off would threaten economic growth.

Minister of Social Protection Kaia Iva (IRL).Minister of Social Protection Kaia Iva (IRL).
Samost: Kaia Iva’s charisma could help IRL out of long-term low

In Sunday’s “Samost ja Rumm” radio debate show, editor-in-chief of ERR’s online news, Anvar Samost, and journalist and former politician Hannes Rumm discussed the potential and actual candidates for the chairmanship of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL). At the time of the broadcast, Helir-Valdor Seeder had not yet made his intention to run public.