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ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The Kazakh Coalition of NGOs Against Torture has called for an investigation into the death of a prisoner in northern Kazakhstan, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Kanat Mukhambetkaliev, 23, was brought to the maximum-security Kushmurun prison in Qostanai Oblast on September 28 and died at a hospital on October 6. An official autopsy cited kidney failure as the cause of death.

Vadim Kuramshin, who monitors human rights in Kazakh penal facilities, told RFE/RL that there were numerous bruises on Mukhambetkaliev's body that might have been caused by beating.

The Coalition of NGOs Against Torture said it has copies of the autopsy documents. It said it wants to participate in the investigation it has called for.

Earlier this month, former Kushmurun prison Director Aleksandr Sadovsky and two of his former associates were found guilty of taking bribes and sentenced to prison terms.

Read more in Kazakh here
Human rights defender Yevgeny Zhovtis (file photo)
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A jailed Kazakh human rights activist says authorities are pressuring him, his wife, and his lawyer at the minimum-security labor camp in eastern Kazakhstan where he is serving a jail sentence, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Yevgeny Zhovtis, head of the Almaty-based Kazakh Bureau for Human Rights, today issued a statement saying that the labor camp administration is trying to isolate him from the outside world.

Zhovtis was sentenced last year to four years in a minimum-security labor camp in Oskemen for a traffic accident in which he killed a pedestrian.

Zhovtis said 100 of the 130 inmates in the camp work outside, but claimed that he is prevented for political reasons from leaving the camp's territory.

He said the labor camp administration does everything possible to prevent any exchange of information between himself and people outside the prison. He said his wife and his lawyer, Svetlana Vitkovskaya, undergo a "special search" every time they see him.

Read more in Russian here

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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