As many as 19 inmates of a correctional facility in Russia's eastern Siberian republic of Yakutia have attempted to commit suicide by cutting their veins, the regional prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.
The prisoners used disposable razors to cut their veins on Monday evening. "All convicts received medical treatment and their lives are not in danger. Security in prison has been tightened and the situation is under control." Russia's RIA Novosti news agency quoted a prison official as saying.
A team of investigators, led by Yakutia's Deputy Chief Prosecutor Boris Samoilenko, is investigating the incident and possible violations of inmates' rights by prison authorities.
Harsh conditions in Russian prisons have been subject of criticism by domestic as well as foreign human rights organizations and officials for years.
The U.S. State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011 says "the conditions of prisons [in Russia] constituted a major violation of the human rights of many prisoners, who were subjected to poor medical care, lack of basic human needs, and abuse by prison officials." However, Russian authorities deny the accusations as "groundless."
by RTT Staff Writer
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