Accessibility links

Breaking News

Kazakh Prison Camp Inmate Dies After Alleging Use Of Torture

Prison camp inmate Sergei Grigoryev's relatives allege that he was tortured before his death.
ZHEZQAZGHAN, Kazakhstan -- Relatives of a Kazakh labor camp inmate say he was murdered after alleging that prisoners were tortured there, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Sergei Grigoryev, an inmate in the labor camp AK159/21 in the town of Balkhash in central Qaraghandy Oblast, died earlier this week.

His mother, Larisa Grigoryeva, told RFE/RL on October 20 that she collected his body on October 17 from a morgue in Balkhash. She said the body bore traces of torture and beating.

"It is clear that they set dogs on my son and beat him viciously before he died, therefore I consider his death was murder and I will seek justice for him," Grigoryeva said. She said the morgue refused to give her the official autopsy report.

Prominent Kazakh human rights activist Vadim Kuramshin, who agreed to help Grigoryeva file the lawsuit and to represent her interests during the investigation and in court, told RFE/RL Grigoryev managed to record a video statement earlier this month complaining that camp inmates were being tortured. That statement was posted on the Internet. Grigoryev died in custody shortly afterwards.

Kuramshin said another inmate from the same labor camp, Arman Kaparov, also was found dead shortly after his video-statement regarding alleged torture at the camp was posted to the Internet last month. Although Kaparov was found with his throat slashed, his death was classified as suicide.

Kuramshin vowed that he will do everything to find Grigoryev's killers and bring them to trial.

A warden at the camp who introduced himself as Lieutenant Colonel Qystaubaev told RFE/RL that Grigoryev died of natural causes, namely heart failure. He said the official autopsy report will be ready in 10 days.

Read more in Kazakh here