Prison visits have still been suspended in Tajikistan due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. 

A source within the Main Penitentiary Directorate of the Ministry of Justice of Tajikistan says that for the purpose of preventing the spread of COVID-19 in penitentiary institutions short-term and long-term prison visits have been temporarily suspended.

The mother of a prison inmate from the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO), who serves his jail term in Dushanbe-based penal colony # 7, says she has not seen her son for already some eight months.   

“Although I'm on the phone with my son, but seeing and speaking live is a different thing,” the woman said.  

Mansourjon Umarov, the head of the Main Penitentiary Directorate of the Ministry of Justice of Tajikistan, had previously told Asia-Plus that coronavirus pandemic does allow giving permission for prison visits.

Currently, there are no cases of pneumonia in the country’s penitentiary institutions and no coronavirus symptoms were reported, according to him.  

Recall, eleven prison inmates and three prison guards have died since late March.  They were aged 50 to 70 and according to doctors, all of them died of pneumonia.  

Following president’s order the Ministry of Justice has reportedly developed a plan and special measures to prevent the spreading of coronavirus in prisons.  The penitentiary institutions have implemented these measures since March 31.

Face masks have reportedly been distributed among prison inmates and guards.  Special units for quarantine were established at each pre-trial detention center, where any detainees having been held for 14 days.

The Penitentiary System is responsible for managing the prison system in Tajikistan and has been part of the Ministry of Justice since 2002.  Its 19 penitentiary institutions reportedly include thirteen correctional colonies (including one colony for women, three regional units responsible for the execution of non-custodial sanctions, one educational institution for juveniles, and one medical facility) and six pre-trial detention centers.