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Inmates' Relatives Protest After Reports Of Self-Mutilations

QARAZHAL, Kazakhstan -- Dozens of inmates' relatives are protesting outside a maximum security prison in the central Kazakh town of Qarazhal following media reports about self-mutilations by dozens of inmates.

One protester, Anastasia Tulendieva, told RFE/RL on May 22 that the administration of the AK-159/22 penitentiary has refused to meet with the inmates' relatives and would not release any information about the situation.

She said a bus was brought to the prison and screaming could be heard coming from the building.

Local media reported that 30 inmates in the prison "maimed" themselves late on May 21.

A spokesman for the Regional Committee for Penitentiary and Correction Implementation told RFE/RL on the same day that the reports were false.

For years, prisoners in penitentiaries located in the central Qaraghandy Oblast have rioted to protest conditions in the facilities.