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Subject: Man Dies After Setting Himself Ablaze in Sixth Recent Self-Immolation

Czech Republic
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Date Posted: April 09, 2003 12:25:02 EDT

A jobless man died early Tuesday in a southern Czech village after setting himself on fire in the sixth case of self-immolation in recent weeks, police said.

The 43-year-old man set himself ablaze shortly after midnight after leaving a pub in the village of Velka Chyska, 60 miles southeast of Prague, said Police spokeswoman Hana Kotkova.

The man had a history of mental problems, had attempted suicide before and may have been despondent over a prison term he was about to begin serving, Kotkova said. He died at the scene.

Three other people have died and two remain hospitalized with serious burns in other self-immolation cases over the past five weeks. At least two of the victims set themselves afire to protest the general state of world affairs.

Experts have offered no explanation for the sharp increase in suicides by self-immolation in the formerly communist country. By comparison, only five people died from self-inflicted burns between 1990 and 1999.

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