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1992: Serbian prison camps condemned

VIDEO : Prisoners given hope by minister's visit

Conditions in two Serbian detention camps have been condemned as "hell on earth" by the man leading a delegation to inspect them.

Dr Bernard Kouchner, the French minister for humanitarian affairs said European governments must act to ensure the camps - at Trnopolje and Manjaca in north-eastern Bosnia - were closed.

The delegation is visiting in the wake of worldwide outrage which followed the first television pictures from the camp at Trnopolje last week.

Images of severely emaciated internees behind barbed wire fences were flashed around the world leading to comparisons with the horrors of Nazi concentration camps.

However Serbs guarding the men at the camps denied the detainees were starving, saying the men "were just ill".


"I think about 80-100 people have died in this camp"

Detainee

The Serbs have defended the existence of the camps calling them "investigation centres for Muslims suspected of being fighters".

There are believed to be about 57 such camps in Bosnia.

Attempts were made to prevent members of the media accompanying the delegation from taking pictures or filming.

Only a few of the internees risked the wrath of their Serb guards by speaking to the delegation.

"I think about 80-100 people have died in this camp," one man said.

Red Cross workers, who have been attempting to make lists of those being held in the camp, were also prevented from talking to the media.

Since the Red Cross arrived last week regular meals have been served to prisoners.

But it is feared that many of them are too weak to recover.

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