Parents: Don’t Move TB-Infected Kazakh Prisoners

DOLINKA, Kazakhstan — Parents of inmates at a notorious jail in central Kazakhstan for convicts with tuberculosis held a protest at the prison today to demand their sons are not moved elsewhere, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service reports.

The protesters, who numbered around 20, say that even though conditions are harsh at the jail in Qaraghandy Oblast, they are worried their sons could be sent somewhere worse.

The protest comes a week after prisoners at the penitentiary were reportedly beaten by security forces and many of them slashed their wrists or cut open their stomachs to protest arbitrary brutal treatment there.

One of the protesters, Bibigul Ospanova, told RFE/RL that the inmates’ parents are against their sons’ transfer to other penitentiaries because nobody knows where they might be sent and what can happen to them.

“They are tuberculosis patients and at least get some kind of treatment here. Many of them are still recovering from self-inflicted injuries. We do not trust the penitentiary authorities. They may retaliate against our children’s protest actions by sending them to even worse prisons,” Ospanova said.

Another protester, Lyubov Rostovskaya, told RFE/RL that the picketers are ready “to lie down under the wheels of the vehicles in the event that our sons are transferred from the penitentiary to other labor camps.”

Rostovskaya also said the parents have blades and bottles filled with gasoline to maim themselves or even set themselves on fire to protest the possible transfer.

Penitentiary officials announced earlier this week that those inmates whose treatment for tuberculosis has been successful will be transferred to other labor camps. But the inmates’ parents say the authorities plan to get rid of the most recalcitrant inmates following the violent incident there a week ago.

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