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Five Kazakh Prison Officers Detained After Torture Videos Appear Online

A deputy warden and four guards at a penitentiary in southern Kazakhstan have been detained after videos posted on the Internet showing the brutal torture of an inmate.

Kazakh Interior Minister Erlan Turghymbaev told reporters on July 30 that seven others, including two deputy wardens, at Correctional Colony LA155/8 in the town of Zarechny near Almaty, have been fired because of the incident.

"Yesterday, five officers from this colony were detained and two probes were launched against them. One probe was launched by the Internal Security Department and another one by the Special Prosecutor's Office. One of the detained officers is a deputy warden," Turghymbaev said, adding that seven more prison officers received official reprimands.

Turghymbaev did not say what charges the detained prison guards are facing.

Videos apparently taken with hidden cameras that circulated on the Internet in recent days showed graphic scenes of the beating and torture of inmates by prison guards in the colony.

The situation at penitentiaries in Kazakhstan have been sharply criticized for years by domestic and international human rights defenders.

Last August, several prison officials were sentenced to lengthy prison terms for their involvement in the torture and death of an inmate at Corrective Colony AK-159/6.

Inmates in prisons across the Central Asian nation have rioted frequently in recent years to protest conditions, often maiming themselves to draw attention to their plight.

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