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One Dead, Dozens Injured In Kazakh Prison Riot

KOKSHETAU, Kazakhstan -- Kazakh authorities now say at least one prisoner was killed and more than 80 others injured in a riot at a prison in northern Kazakhstan, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Interior Ministry special troops were sent in to quell the riot late on August 11 at the prison in the town of Granitny in Aqmola Oblast.

Zhanat Keshubaev, the acting chief of Kazakhstan's Committee to Control the Penitentiary System (KUIS), said today that 81 inmates had maimed themselves by cutting open their abdomens during the riots. He said 71 of them were taken to hospitals and four had head injures.

Keshubaev said three soldiers from the Interior Ministry's special troops were injured while restoring order at the prison. He also said that soldiers did not use weapons during the operation.

Five of the inmates were charged with "disrupting order" in the prison.

Aqmola province deputy prosecutor Serik Khairullin said on August 11 that one prisoner had died.

Prominent Kazakh rights activist and former prisoner Vadim Kuramshin told RFE/RL the same day that three inmates had died in the incident.

He added that one of the inmates set himself on fire and died, while two others died from their self-mutilations.

The situation in Granitny prison has been tense since August 9, when six inmates were hospitalized after they maimed themselves.

KUIS spokesman Ghalymzhan Khasenov told RFE/RL on August 10 that the six had maimed themselves following a fight with another group of inmates.

In the last several weeks, many inmates at several Kazakh prisons have injured themselves to protest conditions and alleged beatings and torture by guards.