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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Protest Blamed for Deadly Jail Riot

An uprising at a prison for minors that left three people dead last week was sparked by a group of inmates protesting the transfer of a fellow prisoner, Federal Prison Service chief Yury Kalinin said.

Protesting the transfer of the prisoner to a pretrial detention center Tuesday -- and emboldened by false rumors that the guards had blank shells in their guns -- the group of inmates began tearing down a perimeter fence at the Kirovgrad prison in the Sverdlovsk region, Kalinin told reporters Friday in Yekaterinburg.

After guards opened fire on the group, the prisoners ran back into the compound, realizing that the ammunition was live. Back inside, they proceeded to set fire to the compound's buildings, Kalinin said, Interfax reported.

Two of those killed in the ensuing chaos were teenage prisoners who were shot while trying to escape, while the third was prison guard Anatoly Zavyalov, Kalinin said.

Fifteen others were hospitalized with injuries, he said.

OMON riot police stormed the compound and stifled the unrest. Several prisoners attempted to escape during the chaos but were quickly tracked down, officials said.

Meanwhile, federal human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin visited the prison Thursday to interview witnesses.

"The main reason [for the uprising], in my view, is that these prisons for minors are turning into real prisons, where the most important thing is punishment," Lukin said, reported. "We have seen such symptoms before," he added.