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Kazakh Inmate 'Tortured' After Speaking Of Prisoner's Death

QOSTANAI, Kazakhstan -- An inmate in Kazakhstan's northern town of Arqalyq says he was tortured after speaking publicly about the death of a fellow prisoner.

Yelizaveta Moksheva of the Kazakh Bureau for Human Rights told RFE/RL on March 24 that Aleksandr Gaponov alleges that prison guards forced him to squat with his hands held above his head for 11 hours last month as punishment.

Moksheva says she visited Gaponov in the penal colony on March 12 but was not allowed to talk with him privately.

Gaponov had earlier told RFE/RL that prison authorities had retaliated against him for saying that another inmate, Yevgeny Fedko, had been killed and had not died of natural causes.

Gaponov was sentenced to 10 years in 2005 for extortion and is expected to be released next year.

Kazakhstan's state agency supervising penitentiaries has denied that Gaponov was tortured.
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