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Tajik Rights Defenders Demand Probes Into Prison Beatings

DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's nongovernmental organization Coalition Against Torture has issued a statement demanding investigations into the alleged mass beatings of prison inmates.

According to the rights group, prison guards brutally beat at least 50 inmates after their transfer from a Dushanbe jail to a prison labor camp in the northern city of Khujand a week ago.

The activists say that at least four of the beaten prisoners were witnesses in the September death of an inmate that has received heavy media coverage.

The statement lists six other suspicious deaths in custody.

Tajik Interior Ministry officials told RFE/RL that they plan to start visiting all prisons in the country soon to talk to inmates and deal with reported cases of rights violations.

With reporting by Interfax

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