Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Jailhouse Blues in Kyrgyzstan

By Azamat Kuramaev











Protests in 16 prison camps across Kyrgyzstan highlight continuing problems in the penal system. Inmates staged hunger strikes over six days, accusing warders of mistreating them.

In turn, the authorities said the protests were stage-managed by organised crime groups that wanted to make their presence felt by politicians.

At the same time, they promised to look into allegations of torture and mistreatment.

The protests came as Kyrgyzstan’s security forces were running a highly-publicised campaign to arrest organised crime leaders.

Prison officials acknowledge that conditions inside would be a lot better if there was more government funding.

The European Union is about to give Kyrgyzstan two million euro to conduct reforms of the penal system.

The audio programme, in Russian and Kyrgyz, went out on national radio stations in Kyrgyzstan, as part of IWPR project work funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.