More than 1,300 prisoners are said to have sewn their lips together with nearly 7,000 on hunger strike. Shock images of the protest have come from Kyrgyzstan amid a growing revolt over poor conditions behind bars.
Moves to force feed hunger strikers only intensified the movement. But despite detainees’ claims of mistreatment and strict detention rules, authorities are not in the mood to compromise.
“This is not a hotel….a holiday resort,” said Mars Zhuzubekov, the director of a detention centre in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. “They should serve their time. Why do they want everything to be open? So anybody can just walk into the cells?”
Riots and self-mutilation over prison conditions are nothing new in the Central Asian state. Authorities claim that organised crime gangs orchestrate such protests.