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KOKSHETAU, Kazakhstan -- Six inmates at a prison in north-central Kazakhstan have been taken to a hospital for treatment after maiming themselves, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Ghalymzhan Khasenov, a spokesman for Kazakhstan's Committee for Control of the Penitentiary System (KUIS), confirmed to RFE/RL that on August 9 six inmates at a prison in the town of Granitny, in Aqmola Oblast, had maimed themselves following a fight. They were hospitalized in the nearby city of Kokshetau.

Meanwhile, prominent Kazakh rights activist and former prisoner Vadim Kuramshin told RFE/RL that the number of prisoners at Granitny with self-inflicted injuries is far higher than has been reported and might be as high as 250.

He said that his sources report that the situation at the Granitny penitentiary remains tense and that several more inmates had maimed themselves early on August 10.

In the last several weeks, many inmates at other Kazakh prisons have injured themselves to protest against prison conditions and alleged beatings and torture by guards.
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