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Georgian Inmates Self-Mutilate In Protest

Up to 17 inmates in the Geguti prison in Georgia's western province of Imereti have been hospitalized after they cut themselves in protest.

Georgian Ministry for Correctional Institutions issued a statement on February 10 saying that the incident had taken place overnight.

Some 1,000 inmates in the penitentiary have been on hunger strike since February 7, protesting what they call abusive prison conditions.

The minister of correctional institutions, Sozar Subari, said last week that the hunger strike was initiated by criminal bosses serving their terms in the penitentiary near the regional capital, Kutaisi.

According to Subari, recent reforms have affected the special privileges often accorded criminal bosses in penitentiaries.

He said the inmates are trying to reverse the reforms by organizing such protests.

Based on reporting by and Interfax