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Sergei Mikhailov, an editor of "Saratovsky Reporter," was attacked on November 6.
Dozens of independent journalists in the western Russian city of Saratov demonstrated against recent attacks on journalists, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

On November 11, the demonstrators held a flash mob performance in Saratov's central square in which a masked attacker dressed in black attacked journalists.

Olga Pavlyukova, the chief editor of independent news agency "Saratovolnews," which organized the protest, told RFE/RL that independent journalists in Saratov and elsewhere in Russia do not feel secure and need to be reassured that they will not be attacked for their work.

Participants said they wanted to demonstrate solidarity with their colleague, Oleg Kashin, who was severely beaten by unknown assailants in Moscow on November 6.

Sergei Mikhailov, an editor at the Saratov newspaper "Saratovsky Reporter," was beaten by unknown attackers on the same day.

Three other Saratov journalists gave been injured in assaults since 2003. One suffered permanent injuries after being attacked with an ax.
Iranian writer and filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad, who remains in prison in Iran.
A detained Iranian filmmaker and journalist has published details of the torture to which he claims he and other detainees have been subjected, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Mohammad Nourizad said in a statement posted on several reformist websites that he was cursed and severely beaten by intelligence officials while in detention. He called their behavior "barbaric."

Nourizad said other political prisoners, including Mostafa Tajzade, Abdullah Momeni, Hamza Karami, and Mohammad Reza Rajabi were also tortured in detention.

Hamza Karimi and Abdullah Momeni had both previously written to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei describing the torture and mental pressure that they and other prisoners were subjected to in detention.

Khamenei has said publicly that, "All those who have been affected by these matters in any way should know that the government's principles do not lie in tolerance. We believe in making a stand against those opposing us within the framework of the law."

Both Islamic law and the Iranian Constitution forbid either physical or mental torture, which constitute punishable offenses.

Hadi Ghaemi, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran executive director and spokesman, told Radio Farda on November 10 that postpresidential election detainees are routinely tortured.

"The news of torture leaked during the initial period of the unrest when a huge number of people were arrested, and the Kehrizak detention center was the center of attention in this respect," he added.

Ghaemi believes that the first step towards preventing torture is to publicize it internationally.

"These letters and notes have in fact proven very effective on an international level, as we have actually translated some of them and distributed them among United Nations delegates," Ghaemi said. "Hopefully the result would be a resolution that [UN] members would pass after receiving first-hand information from the prisoners themselves."

Nourizad was arrested late last year after publishing several open letters on his blog that were deemed disrespectful to Khamenei and other senior officials.

He was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison and 50 lashes on unclear charges, but released from prison on June 24. Nourizad was summoned back to prison on August 18 shortly after publishing on his blog another public letter addressed to Khamenei.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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