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Tajikistan: Prison Uprising Continues


Khujand, 16 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - A prison uprising in the northern Tajik city of Khujand is continuing into its second day, reports our correspondent.

Between 100-120 prisoners protesting prison conditions and armed with wooden sticks and metal bars have taken four guards hostage and are currently negotiating with the Tajik deputy interior minister.

The prisoners do not want to move to jails in southern regions of Tajikistan where conditions are known to be worse. Khujand prison was built to hold 300 inmates but now has more than 800. Some of those due to be transferred are in poor health and reportedly need hospitalization. Others have not even gone through a full trial process. No violence has yet been reported.

It was reported last night that one of the leaders of the uprising was a leader of last spring's demonstrations in northern Tajikistan. The demonstrations then focused on efforts to include other opposition forces -- the so-called "third force" or internal opposition -- in talks between the government and the mainly Islamic opposition.
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