Authorities at a penal colony in Kazakhstan have refused to let inmates' relatives see their loved ones following reports that the armed forces put down a prison riot.
Anxious relatives had gathered near the OV-156/3 prison in the eastern city of Oskemen, demanding access to the inmates to assuage fears they had been subjected to violence by the troops.
Prison officials told RFE/RL that the armed forces had been used on November 10 to "conduct routine checks (and) confiscate banned items, such as mobile phones and blades."
Officials told the relatives that day that two inmates had been hospitalized after they maimed themselves to protest the presence of the armed forces.
Kazakh inmates have rioted several times in recent years to protest jail conditions, sometimes maiming themselves to draw attention to their plight.