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Jail Terms Extended For Kazakh Inmates Involved In 'Fake Beating Video'

DOLINKA, Kazakhstan -- Four convicts at a maximum-security prison in central Kazakhstan who allegedly faked a video of an inmate being beaten had their prison terms prolonged by one year, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Vadim Kuramshin, a well-known rights activist and former prisoner who has monitored the situation at the prison in the town of Dolinka, told RFE/RL that the four were found guilty on November 12 of "violating the penitentiary regime."

The case concerns a video, which circulated on the Internet earlier this year, showing a man in a police uniform beating an inmate with a truncheon.

It was subsequently established that the clip was shot in the Dolinka prison and that the prisoner being beaten was Yevgeny Karaush, one of the four whose terms were extended.

The prison authorities claimed the video was fake and the beating was staged and recorded on a mobile phone by another prisoner, Maksim Kozhanov.

In June, five inmates -- including Karaush and Kozhanov -- sliced open their abdomens and were taken to the hospital. They were later brought back to the prison, after which Kozhanov was found hanged in the prison's medical unit.

Karaush's mother, Galina Dobrovolskaya, told RFE/RL that the four inmates' sentences were prolonged in order to intimidate other prisoners who claim their rights are being abused.

Last week, 12 other Dolinka inmates maimed themselves to protest prison conditions.

There have been numerous cases of self-mutilation by prisoners in several different prisons in Kazakhstan in recent months. Kazakh human rights activists have urged authorities to improve prison conditions. They say human rights are routinely abused in Kazakh prisons.

Aleksandr Sadovsky, a former warden of the Kushmurun prison in northern Kazakhstan, and two of his former associates were found guilty earlier this month of taking bribes and sentenced to prison terms.