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Kyrgyz Parliament Readies Amnesty For Old, Young, Female Prisoners

Kanybek Imanaliev

Kanybek Imanaliev

BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz parliament is preparing legislation for an amnesty for many of the country's prisoners, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Parliament deputy Kanybek Imanaliev -- one of the authors of the draft law -- told RFE/RL that if the bill is adopted mainly female, young, and elderly convicts would be released from jails. He said those convicted of murder and other serious crimes would not be eligible for the amnesty.

The amnesty bill is being considered as thousands of inmates in Kyrgyz jails are on a hunger strike.

Prisoners in five penitentiaries are on a hunger strike that began on March 25. The inmates have several demands, including an improvement in living conditions and greater respect for their rights by prison officials.

Imanaliev told RFE/RL the amnesty will be announced to mark the 20th anniversary of Kyrgyzstan's independence from the Soviet Union. He added that the amnesty might "improve the current situation in the penitentiary system."

There are about 10,000 inmates currently held in Kyrgyzstan's correctional facilities. It is not yet known how many would be released under the proposed amnesty.

Read more in Kyrgyz here