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Kazakh Convicts Get New Sentences For 'Organizing Riot'

KOKSHETAU, Kazakhstan -- More than a dozen inmates at a labor camp in northern Kazakhstan have been sentenced for organizing a riot in the camp last year, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Damilya Orazaeva, a mother of one of the prisoners, told RFE/RL that the verdicts were announced on November 30 in a court in the northern city of Kokshetau in the Aqmola region.

She said 14 inmates had been sentenced to prison terms of 1 1/3 to 19 years that will be added to their current sentences.

All of the convicts except one have since been transferred from the labor camp in Graniktny to maximum-security prisons.

On August 9, 2010, hundreds of inmates in the ETs-166/25 labor camp protested for improvements at the institution. Six inmates were hospitalized that day.

Ghalymzhan Khasenov, spokesman for the Interior Ministry's Committee to Control the Penitentiary System (KIUS), told RFE/RL the day after the incident that the six had maimed themselves following a fight with another group of prisoners.

On August 11, special Interior Ministry troops were sent into the prison to quell the prisoners' protests. One inmate was killed during the special operation and a second died later in the hospital. More than 80 others were injured.

The inmates' relatives rallied outside the prison on August 11 and 12 to demand a meeting with the prisoners. When they were not allowed to see them they went to Astana, where they picketed the KIUS building. Some of the relatives were later allowed to meet with their jailed relatives.

Orazaeva told RFE/RL that the convicts' relatives who were sentenced to additional prison terms planned to appeal the verdicts.

In the last three years, many prisoners at several Kazakh prisons have intentionally injured themselves to protest conditions, alleged beatings, and other purported abuse by prison guards.

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