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TSKHINVALI, Georgia -- Some rights activists are blaming authorities in South Ossetia for a string of prison deaths in the breakaway Georgian region, RFE/RL's Echo of the Caucasus reports.

Officials said Andrei Kabulov, a former police officer serving an 18-year prison term for robbery and murder, committed suicide in a Tskhinvali prison on November 29.

Opposition activist Fatima Margieva told RFE/RL she doubts the official version of Kabulov's death as he was not the type of person to kill himself. She said that in contrast to most prisoners, Kabulov took care of his health, paid attention to his appearance, and was athletic. But she added that it is hard to say who may have wanted to kill Kabulov and for what reason.

There have been two other deaths officially ruled as suicides in the same prison in the past year.

Inal Tadeev died in his cell just two days before his release in circumstances that remain unclear, and Isak Tlauri was found hanged in his cell a few months ago.

Margieva noted that a fourth prisoner, Dmitry Kaloyev, was recently hospitalized with acute poisoning. Kaloyev's mother admitted he may have tried to kill himself, but Margieva does not rule out someone poisoning him.

Human rights activist Ruslan Magkaev implicitly blamed South Ossetian authorities for the deaths. He said Russia should intervene to put an end to "chaos and despotism" that exists in South Ossetia.
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