TURKISTAN, Kazakhstan -- A group of inmates in a penitentiary in Kazakhstan's southern Turkistan region have maimed themselves to protest conditions and are refusing to follow guards' orders.
The chief of the State Penitentiary Service (QAZh) in the region, Talghat Abdiranbaev, said late on April 28 that six inmates at the ICh-167/9 maximum-security correctional colony had inflicted cuts on their bodies after a confrontation with guards.
According to Abdiranbaev, the incident took place after the inmates protested searches of their belongings by the prison guards, QAZh officials, and National Guard troops.
"The inmates were provided with medical assistance right away. Their health condition is more or less stable, there is no need for hospitalizations," Abdiranbaev said, adding that internal investigations were under way in the penitentiary, which houses 485 inmates convicted of serious and very serious crimes.
Abdiranbaev's statement came three days after two inmates in the western region of Manghystau swallowed spoons to protest against prison conditions, prompting an inspection of the facility by representatives of the Public Monitoring Commission and the National Preventive Mechanism -- groups created to prevent torture and rights abuse in the Central Asian country's penitentiaries.
Inmates in Kazakh prisons often maim themselves to protest brutality from guards or abuses of their rights. They usually slit their wrists or cut their abdomens. Swallowing spoons or other objects is very rare.