1,000 Kyrgyz Inmates Sew Lips in Protest

Posted January 27th, 2012 at 2:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Prison officials in Kyrgyzstan say more than 1,000 inmates have sewn their mouths shut to protest living conditions in prison.

Journalists who have been permitted into Detention Center Number 1, show images of prisoners with their mouths stitched with wire so that only liquid can come in.

The prisoners have been protesting since January, when detention authorities confiscated banned items, such as electronics, in an effort to enforce prison rules more strictly.

The center's director Mars Zhuzubekov noted that a detention center cannot be run as a holiday resort.

“This is not a hotel, this is not a holiday resort, they should serve their time. Why do they want everything to be open? So anybody can just walk into the cells? But who is to stop a large group? Especially at night? You have taken pictures of everything that was seized. That included plasma screen TVs, refrigerators, handmade beds, mattresses that were smuggled in.”

Zhuzubekov also told reporters the protest has been organized by the crime gangs who resist efforts to restore order in detention facilities.

Officials say that close to 200 inmates removed the stitches after recent visits by relatives and human rights activists.