Over 400 Kyrgyz prisoners stitched up their mouths on Tuesday as a part of a nationwide hunger strike that has spread throughout the country’s pre-trial detention facilities, Kyrgyz human rights ombudsman Tursunbek Akun said.
The gruesome protest follows a riot in mid-January during a routine cell check in one of Bishkek’s pre-trial detention centers, when inmates set a fire and some slashed their wrists, protesting violence from the prison staff and visitor restrictions.
Soon after the first protest, the rest of the country’s penitentiary facilities joined in, declaring a nationwide hunger strike.
“Today the prisoners have toughened their protest. It will not lead to anything good, the situation needs to be urgently solved,” Akun said.
According to Kyrgyz Federal Penitentiary Service, only 260 prisoners out of more than 1,300 are taking food.