TIRANA - 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.

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