Prisoner Beggars
Visiting Bukhara in 1888, a British traveler observed in his travelogue, “In the street we saw a couple of the prisoners chained together, begging, as we were told, for the rest. Bokharan prisoners are each allowed only one thin cake of bread per diem, besides what is procured by those let out, two at a time, to beg.” When in prison, “the miserable creatures condemned to death, or to imprisonment for life, wear an iron collar with a chain which fastens them in a row to each other and to the wall.”

Bukharan Sharia Law
Even after it became a protectorate of the Russian Empire, the Khanate of Bukhara remained self-governing and was ruled by Islamic law, called sharia. Many crimes could be commuted by the payment of a monetary penalty, and most prisoners were insolvent debtors who could not pay their fine. A symbol of the Khan’s harsh sense of justice, the Zindan prison in Bukhara was mainly used to confine debtors.

 

3a2e8fd5a6a1925a54cea0323e1f513e

Prokudin-Gorskii, Sergei Mikhailovich. Prisoners in Shackles, 1906-1911. 1 negative (3 frames) : glass, b&w, three-color separation. Library of Congress, Prokudin-Gorskii Collection.