BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz officials say the remaining hunger-striking inmates in five of the country's penitentiaries have ended their protest, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.
The hunger strike was started by prisoners at four prisons on March 25 and it spread to virtually all of the country's penitentiaries by March 28.
The head of the Penitentiary System Control Board, Kalybek Kachkynaliev, told RFE/RL that the situation within the prisons was under control. He said reports about the alleged beating of inmates by prison guards had not been confirmed.
Dozens of inmates' relatives picketed the government and parliament buildings on March 27-28 demanding the authorities intervene to resolve the dispute, in which prisoners have several demands, including an improvement in their living conditions.
Officials had said the strike was organized by criminal groups and supported by friends and relatives of ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev.
A crackdown on criminal groups has led to many of their members being jailed in recent months.
Kyrgyz prisons hold a total of some 10,000 inmates. Read more in Kyrgyz here