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Inmates' Relatives Say Kazakh Authorities Quashed Prison Protest

Inmates in a prison in Kazakhstan's Almaty Province have reportedly rioted to protest harsh conditions.

Some 20 relatives of inmates have been gathered outside the LA-155/8 penal colony in the southern town of Zarechnoye since September 7, demanding to see their loved ones.

The relatives say 150 inmates protested over the weekend, some of them cutting their veins, and that their protest was quashed by riot police.

A spokesman of the regional agency overseeing penitentiaries rejected the relatives' claims. He said 30 inmates had been transferred to other prisons in the former Soviet republic in Central Asia.

The relatives say officials have refused to tell them exactly who was transferred and why.

Prisoners in Kazakhstan have rioted frequently in recent years to protest conditions, often maiming themselves to draw attention to their plight.

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