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Kyrgyz Authorities Order Guards And Officials Out Of Prisons

Inmates at the Moldavanovka prison occupy the roof of the facility on 21 October (AFP) Bishkek, 21 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Authorities in Kyrgyzstan have ordered guards and staffers to vacate the country's prisons and to put security forces around jails following two prison riots this week.

A spokesman for Kyrgyzstan's Justice Ministry, Sergei Sidorov, said the move was ordered for the safety of the guards and staff members, Reuters reported.

The measure came after a riot at the Moldavanovka prison yesterday in which a parliamentarian was killed as he made an inspection of the facility.

Prisoners, some of them ill with tuberculosis, were demanding better living conditions.

Parliament met in an emergency session today to discuss the killing of parliamentarian Tynychbek Akmatbaev.

Prime Minister Feliks Kulov said it appeared Akmatbaev was shot with a gun he or one of his bodyguards brought to the prison.

"We can't say anything definite about the weapons that were seized [after the riot] yet," Kulov said. "We need some more time to check them. But the fact remains that they [the deputy's bodyguards] came in with guns. They did not give up their weapons [to prison authorities]."

Other reports have indicated that officials demanded that the visitors surrender their weapons, which they did, but prisoners then stole the guns from prison guards.

The situation was defused when Kulov arrived and convinced them inmates to stop the riot and hand over the bodies of those killed.

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service)

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