Dozens of people have gathered near a penal colony in the town of Arshaly, near the Kazakh capital, Astana, to demand that they be allowed to see incarcerated relatives who may have maimed themselves.
Officials at the ETs-166/5 penitentiary informed RFE/RL in a written statement on June 10 that two inmates suffered self-inflicted wounds "which are not dangerous" after they were punished for "violating penitentiary regulations."
Meanwhile, the inmates' relatives, who have been standing in front of the penal colony since June 9, told RFE/RL that at least four inmates cut their abdomens open to protest "colony conditions and humiliation by the guards."
Penitentiary officials have so far denied the relatives' requests to meet with inmates, citing a 10-day sanitary quarantine in the colony.
Prisoners in Kazakh penitentiaries have often rioted to protest conditions in the facilities.