Mass Suicide in Russian Jail

Nineteen 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 Tuesday.

The incident took place at about 6.00 p.m. Monday. The prisoners used disposable razors to cut their veins.

“All convicts received medical treatment and their lives are not in danger,” the authorities said.

“Security in prison has been tightened and the situation is under control.”

A team of investigators, led by Yakutia’s deputy chief prosecutor Boris Samoilenko, is headed to the prison to investigate the incident and check for possible violations of inmates’ rights by prison authorities.

Harsh conditions in Russian prisons have been subject of criticism by domestic and foreign human rights organizations and officials for years.

The U.S. Department of State 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.”

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