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Health Of Jailed Kazakh Poet Said To Be Worsening

The health of imprisoned Kazakh dissident poet Aron Atabek has reportedly deteriorated since prison authorities placed him in solitary confinement almost one month ago.

Atabek details his condition in a letter smuggled out of his penitentiary in the northern Pavlodar region this week.

Atabek told friends and relatives that one of legs, which was broken some time ago by prison guards, is now swollen and painful.

Atabek's wife, Zhaina Aidarkhan, told RFE/RL on June 20 that her husband was transferred to solitary confinement on May 21 for unknown reasons.

Prison officials refused to comment.

Atabek, 60, was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 2007 for his role in organizing mass protests that resulted in the death of a police officer.

Atabek has maintained his innocence. He rejected a government pardon in 2012 if he would admit his guilt.
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