Wires

Second Albanian dissident torches self over payment row

* Second Albanian dissident sets himself on fire

* Act comes after no solution seen for their compensation

TIRANA, Oct 10 (Reuters) - An Albanian former politicalprisoner set himself on fire on Wednesday, the second dissidentto do so in two days after the government ruled out talks ontheir demands for compensation for suffering under communism.

Television footage showed Lirak Bejko, 47, pour petrol onhimself and set his trousers on fire, before friends andpolicemen rushed to put out the flames with blankets.

Doctors said he was in critical condition, with third-degreeburns to his limbs and face. Gjergj Ndreca, who set himself onfire on Monday, is also recovering in hospital.

Bejko, 47, and Ndreca are among 20 former dissidentsimprisoned during the communist era who have been fasting for 19days to draw attention to their demands.

The government says they have already received compensation.Prime Minister Sali Berisha said his party had granted formerpolitical prisoners $100 million in cash and privatisationvouchers.

Skender Tufa, the head of the prisoners association, saidthe dissidents have agreed to carry out other "extremeprotests", but did not give details.

"These are very grave acts, but...we have nothing else tolose. We the former prisoners are corpses walking around withoutdignity," he said.

(Reporting By Benet Koleka, Editing by Diana Abdallah)

((Benet.Koleka@thomsonreuters.com)(+355 4 2229824)(ReutersMessaging: Benet.Koleka.reuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: ALBANIA DISSIDENTS/

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