Kyrgyzstan: Former Head of Breakout Prison Found Dead
In a grisly epilogue to the major Kyrgyzstan prison break earlier this year, the former director of the jail was found hanged on November 20.
Imankul Teltayev’s body was discovered in the medical ward of the detention facility where he was awaiting trial for dereliction of duty, the prison service said in a statement.
According to the government account, on the night of October 11, nine inmates at the prison run by Teltayev overpowered guards and made their escape. Three guards were said to been killed during the breakout, and another to have died of his injuries some days later.
Five of the men were captured almost immediately and again incarcerated. Within ten days, three of them had died in strange circumstances. Of the four that got away, three were eventually tracked down and killed. Only one from that group remains alive.
Teltayev was taken into custody on November 11 as investigations proceeded into his role in the breakout.
The prison service said he complained of ill-health shortly thereafter.
“After arrival at the detention facility, he complained about the state of his health and he was placed in a medical ward. He was kept there alone,” the prison service said in its brief statement.
24.kg news website cited a prisons official as saying that they believed Teltayev had succumbed to a nervous breakdown and hanged himself with a sheet.
“There is information that he attempted suicide four years ago, when they fired him the first time,” the unnamed official told 24.kg.
Prime Minister Temir Sariyev met with the head of the prison service to discuss the alleged suicide and to demand a thorough and swift investigation.
But prison authorities have said no criminal case will be opened as they are satisfied that Teltayev took his own life.
“There are surveillance cameras in the corridors, so it will be possible if anybody went into his ward,” a prison service official told 24.kg.
Prosecutors have said, meanwhile, that it is still to early determine whether it will be necessary to file a criminal case.
The entire story of the prison escape is rife with improbable contradictions and developments, and with so many people directly involved now dead, getting to the bottom of it all seems unlikely.
The authorities' haste to gloss over Teltayev’s alleged suicide may also prompt questions. One being why a man that had been previously dismissed for his purportedly known suicidal tendencies and nervous disposition had been put in charge of keeping guard over some of the country’s most dangerous convicts.
Peter Leonard is Eurasianet’s Central Asia editor.
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