There were allegations that criminal suspects were tortured or ill-treated in police custody. At least four death sentences were passed; one was carried out and three were commuted. President Askar Akayev dismissed parliament in September after members announced a boycott which would have rendered a forthcoming session inquorate. The government then resigned. A referendum in October endorsed constitutional amendments establishing a bicameral parliament and the principle of holding referendums on all future constitutional and major legislative changes. Elections to the new parliament were due in early 1995. There were allegations that criminal suspects were tortured or ill-treated in police custody. In March, three teenage boys claimed that they were tortured until they confessed to assaulting a police officer. They were arrested in the capital, Bishkek. During interrogation they were allegedly beaten about the head, punched in the kidneys and thrown against walls, and one of them had a gas mask with its airway blocked put over his face to prevent him breathing. In a similar case, also in March, four teenage boys complained that they were beaten at a police station in Dzhalal-Abad. Two of them needed hospital treatment as a result. In June it was reported that police abuses had been officially admitted in these cases, and that officers involved had been dismissed and were the subject of criminal investigation. At least four death sentences were passed. The defendants in these cases alleged that police had beaten and intimidated them into making false confessions which formed the main evidence on which they were convicted of murder. One of these sentences was carried out and three were commuted – two of them to 20 years' and one to 15 years' imprisonment. Two women sentenced to death in 1992 and 1993 also had their sentences commuted to 15 years' imprisonment. During the year information was received about an execution carried out in 1993. Amnesty International wrote in May to the government calling for investigations into allegations of torture and ill-treatment in police custody. It called for commutation of all death sentences and continued to urge total abolition of the death penalty.

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