ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- An inmate whose relatives insist he was tortured while being detained in a Kazakh penal colony has died in hospital.
Qairat Egimbaev's wife, Aizhan Omar, told RFE/RL that her husband had been pronounced dead on August 26 and his body was delivered to her on August 28.
Omar said that Egimbaev died a day before he was supposed to testify about his situation to investigators.
Egimbaev's relatives told journalists last week that the 44-year-old man was transferred from the penal colony to a regular hospital in early August and underwent four operations on his intestines, adding that they had not been allowed to see him and talk to him.
Egimbaev's lawyer, Aigul Baimaghambetova, told RFE/RL earlier that the penal colony authorities claim that Egimbaev sustained injuries after he fell in a shower room.
His relatives have rejected that explanation and demanded the real reasons for the four operations.
Ghalymzhan Khasenov, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry's Penitentiary Committee, told RFE/RL last week that Egimbaev's case was under investigation.
Almaty regional penitentiary service officials were not available for comment on August 28.
Torture in Kazakh penitentiaries has been reported several times in recent years.
On August 8, a deputy warden of a penal colony in the central Qaraghandy region, his subordinate, and six inmates were sentenced to prison terms between seven and eight years after a court found them guilty of torturing a prisoner to death.