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NOVOMICHURINSK, Russia -- The mayor of a town southeast of Moscow is in the hospital after being attacked, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Yelena Shumilova, the mayor of Novomichurinsk, was beaten by two unknown assailants near the local district administration building late on December 6.

Shumilova was hospitalized with head injuries and a broken nose.

Authorities say they are investigating possible motives.

Novomichurinsk, in Ryazan Oblast, lies some 200 kilometers from Moscow.

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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.

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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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