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Iranian journalist and human right activist Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand is serving an 11-year sentence in Tehran's Evin prison.
The family of imprisoned Iranian journalist Mohammad Sadegh Kaboudvand has written to the UN Secretary General and international bodies to solicit help in securing his release, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Kaboudvand is four years into an 11-year jail sentence on charges of "inciting the public" through the Human Rights High Commission in Kurdistan that he founded. He is being held in Tehran's Evin prison.

Kaboudvand, 48, suffers from multiple health problems, including a heart condition and problems with blood pressure and his prostate. He has survived several strokes and is currently under observation by the prison doctors, who have said in a statement that he is likely to die if not released from detention.

Human Rights High Commission in Kurdistan spokesman Ejlal Ghavami told Radio Farda on December 2 that Kaboudvand's condition is extremely serious. Ghavami said Kaboodvand's request for leave was rejected, even though prison doctors said in their statement they can longer provide him with adequate treatment. He said "we are still hoping" that ruling will be revised.

Kaboudvand's wife, Parinaz Husseini, does not know whether her request for him to be released on leave has been forwarded to the prison authorities.

In 2009, Kaboudvand won a Hellman/Hammett grant for persecuted writers from campaign group Human Rights Watch, as well as the International Journalist of the Year Award at the Press Gazette British Press Awards.
Moscow residents staged rally in support of Khimki activists and journalists in mid-November.
The Russian environmental group Ecodefense has called for the dismissal of several officials in a Moscow suburb because of unsolved attacks on journalists and activists, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

In a letter posted on Ecodefense's website on December 2, the group asks Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to "remove the regional prosecutor of Khimki, the mayor of Khimki, and the heads of the local office of the Interior Ministry and the local Federal Security Service (FSB)."

They cite attacks on several local journalists and environmental activists that have yet to be fully investigated, including the recent assault on activist Konstantin Fetisov, who is still in a coma after being attacked near his apartment on November 4.

Ecodefense officials said several hundred people have signed a petition backing the removal of the Khimki officials.

In the past few years, several journalists who wrote about the protests against the construction of the proposed Moscow-St. Petersburg highway through the Khimki forest have been attacked and beaten.

In one such attack in 2008, Mikhail Beketov, the former editor of a local paper, suffered brain damage and many broken bones and had several fingers amputated.

No perpetrators of the attacks have been arrested and Beketov's case has been closed by police.

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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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