ALMATY -- Kazakh activists gathered in Almaty today to mark the 50th anniversary of the Soviet gulag's official closure, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.
The meeting was led by activists from the Ar/Rukh/Khak (Conscience/Spirit/Truth) organization, who gathered at the Alley of National Heroes in Almaty and read poems written by and about inmates of the Soviet Union's General Department of Correctional Labor Camps (GULAG).
On this day in 1960 the gulag -- where at least 14 million people were imprisoned and an estimated 1 million died in some 476 different camps -- was officially dissolved and the Soviet penitentiary system reportedly underwent some degree of reform.
Ar/Rukh/Khak Chairwoman Bakhyt Toregozhina said the gathering was devoted to the poets and human rights activists who were killed in the gulag.
She added that young Kazakhs should remember their prominent ancestors who died in the Soviet prisons but whose names are often forgotten.
Young Kazakh poet Rinat Kibraev compared the Soviet regime with the current Kazakh government, saying that even these days human rights activists are jailed in Kazakhstan.
Kazakh police monitored today's event but did not disrupt the unsanctioned gathering.