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Jewish Prisoner Hunger-strikes 819 Days

A great sensation was caused by the disclosure in Parliament by the Minister of State at the Home Office, Mark Carlisle, that among four men and two women who are being force-fed in British prisons, after having gone on hunger strike, was one Jew, Keith Baillie, who refuses food because it is not kosher. Baillie, 31, the Minister said, had been on hunger strike for 819 days, an unprecedented length of time, and is alive only because he is being force-fed every day.

Nathan Rubin, secretary of the United Synagogue, and secretary of the Visitation Committee of British Jewry (they look after Jews serving prison sentences) told the JTA that Baillie, from Glasgow, sentenced to 17 years for armed robbery, “had a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father. Thus we consider him a Jew.” Rubin said that a plan was worked out whereby Baillie, in order to observe his Jewishness, would be given a fish and vegetarian diet. He rejected it and went on strike.