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Kazakh Inmates Reportedly Maim Themselves To Protest Conditions


Relatives of four inmates have gathered near a penal colony in Kazakhstan’s southern city of Shymkent to demand that they be allowed to see incarcerated relatives who may have maimed themselves.

The relatives told RFE/RL on July 31 that the officials at the penitentiary refused to allow them to see the inmates, saying that they were currently in solitary confinement.

The relatives said they had received information that the inmates have cut their abdomens open to protest "colony conditions and humiliation by the guards."

Last month, several inmates reportedly cut their abdomens open in a prison near the capital Astana.

Earlier this month, a prison riot in Kazakhstan's northwestern city of Aqtobe was quashed by authorities.

For years, prisoners in Kazakh penitentiaries have rioted to protest jail conditions, often maiming themselves to draw attention to their plight.

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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for "standing in defense of citizen’s rights to seek and receive information."

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