BISHKEK -- A top Kyrgyz prison official says the demands of hundreds of protesting inmates across the country are being addressed and changes are being made, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.
The head of the Interior Ministry's Department to Supervise Penitentiaries (KUIS), Sheishenbek Baizakov, told RFE/RL that the country's penitentiaries have started receiving the necessary medicine needed for ill inmates, visits by friends and relatives of the inmates are being simplified, and steps have been made to start improving living conditions in correctional institutions.
Baizakov said a special state commission made up of experts and officers from the State Committee for National Security (UKMK), the Interior Ministry, and the KUIS as well as a special parliamentary commission have been meeting with the inmates since the protests started in at least seven penitentiaries on December 13.
The United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, said during a visit to Kyrgyzsan on December 14 that he had urged the authorities to prevent abuse, torture, and ill treatment in jails and to end impunity by ensuring that the alleged perpetrators are held responsible and brought to justice.
He said there is "a serious lack of sufficiently speedy, meaningful, thorough, and impartial investigations" into allegations of torture and ill-treatment in Kyrgyzstan, as well as a lack of effective prosecution of the law-enforcement officials who are involved in such abuse.
Read more in Kyrgyz here