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QARAGHANDY, Kazakhstan -- Eight inmates at the notorious Dolinka prison in central Kazakhstan engaged in self-mutilation today, the latest in a series of such incidents in the country's jails, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Natalya Gorina, spokeswoman for the Qaraghandy Oblast Committee for Penitentiary and Correction System Control, told journalists that the eight men demanded free movement within the penitentiary, unlimited parcels from their relatives, and the introduction of a voluntary cleaning schedule in place of the present compulsory one.

Gorina said an investigation has been opened. She did not identify the prisoners or say how seriously they are injured or whether they have been hospitalized.

Meanwhile, alarmed relatives are converging on the prison to try to find out details of what happened.

There have been numerous such cases of self-mutilation by prisoners in recent months. Kazakh human rights activists have urged the authorities to improve prison conditions. They say human rights are routinely abused in Kazakh prisons.