Russian court: Several convicts slice their veins at hearing over 2008 prison riot

MOSCOW — A court spokeswoman in the southern Russian region of Samara says several inmates have severed their veins inside the courtroom during a hearing into a prison riot in 2008.

Nadezhda Merzlikina, a spokeswoman for the Samara Regional Court, told The Associated Press the convicts were all alive and receiving medical attention after Tuesday’s incident.

Russian news agencies said 12 inmates were on trial Tuesday for their part in the 2008 riots that injured more than 30 prisoners and staff at the high-security prison. Merzlikina would not specify how many of the 12 severed their veins or how they did it.

The area is 700 miles (1,120 kilometres) south of Moscow. Russia’s harsh prisons, relics of the Soviet gulag system, are notoriously draconian, with inmates often kept in cruel conditions.

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