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Kazakh Prison Guards, Inmates On Trial For Alleged Torture

QAPSHAGHAI, Kazakhstan -- Nine people have gone on trial for allegedly torturing an inmate in a southern Kazakh prison, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Five prison guards and four inmates are charged with torturing former army officer Zhandos Saghatov, who is serving a jail term in the town of Zarechny, in the Almaty region, for a drug-related crime.

Saghatov's lawyer, Gaukhar Salimbaeva, told RFE/RL that her client was severely beaten in the penitentiary's quarantine unit on March 20. She said Saghatov has undergone five operations since then but still has severe health problems.

Kazakh human rights organizations said the January 18 trial in Qapshaghai city court is the first time defendants have been charged with committing torture within the country's penal system.

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