BISHKEK -- Dozens of inmates in a penal colony in Kyrgyzstan are on hunger strike to protest against conditions at the penitentiary.
Fifty-nine inmates went on hunger strike in the prison in the village of Modovanovka in Kyrgyzstan's north, although it was unclear when the protest was launched.
Kyrgyzstan's state corrections service told RFE/RL on June 8 that 10 of the inmates on strike had sewn up their mouths.
Nurdin Sulaimanov, the head of the National Center for the Prevention of Torture, an independent antitorture body in Kyrgyzstan, said the inmates had been on strike since June 5.
Sulaimanov said his team visited the penitentiary, but inmates told them they had not been tortured.
Meanwhile, a relative of one of the inmates on hunger strike, who asked not to be named, told RFE/RL that the number of inmates on strike is 75. She added that the inmates had been on strike since June 3.
According to her, the inmates started the hunger strike to protest against beatings by prison guards that left several inmates with broken ribs.
Inmates across the former Soviet Union often hold hunger strikes, riot, or maim themselves to draw attention to their plight.