DOLINKA, Kazakhstan -- Twelve inmates of a maximum-security prison in the town of Dolinka in central Kazakhstan maimed themselves to protest conditions in the penitentiary, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.
Qaraghandy Oblast Penitentiary System Control Department spokeswoman Natalya Gorina told RFE/RL that the 12 inmates slashed open their abdomens.
She said they were all currently in the penitentiary's medical unit. Gorina said she did not know how serious their injuries are. The incident is being investigated.
Meanwhile, well-known Kazakh human rights defender and former prison inmate Vadim Kuramshin says that according to his sources, four of the prisoners who deliberately injured themselves are in grave condition.
There have been numerous such cases of self-mutilation by prisoners in recent months. Kazakh human rights activists have urged the authorities to improve prison conditions. They say human rights are routinely abused in Kazakh prisons.
Last week, Aleksandr Sadovsky, the former warden of the notorious Kushmurun prison in northern Kazakhstan, and two of his two former associates were found guilty of bribe taking and sentenced to several years in prison.