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Belarusian artist Ales Pushkin (file photo)
Belarusian opposition activist and artist Ales Pushkin has been sentenced to 13 days in jail for hooliganism, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

The Krupskaya district court handed down the sentence today, after Pushkin's arrest on December 8 in his native village of Bobr.

Pushkin's wife, Yanina, told RFE/RL that police arrived at their house at 3.45 p.m. and told Pushkin that one of his neighbors filed a complaint that Pushkin had beaten him up.

Police then forced Pushkin into a car and took him away.

Yanina Pushkina said the neighbor came to their house earlier on December 8 and insulted her husband.

She said that Pushkin simply asked him to leave, but did not attack him.

Pushkina said that her husband's arrest could be politically motivated, with the aim of isolating him during the run-up to the December 19 presidential election.

During the last presidential election in March 2006, Pushkin was also behind bars, serving a 15-day prison term for verbal insult.

Pushkin's jail term will end on December 21, two days after the presidential election.

Read more in Belarusian here
Nasrin Sotoudeh (file photo)
Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and women's rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh is on hunger strike for the third time, her husband has told RFE/RL's Radio Farda.

Reza Khandan told Radio Farda on December 7 that Sotoudeh resumed her hunger strike because her demands have not been met. He said that in violation of assurances given by the judge when she first appeared in court, her temporary arrest has been extended and her request for release on bail rejected.

Sotoudeh was taken into custody on September 4 on charges of "acting against national security," "assembly and collusion to disrupt security," and "cooperation with the Defenders for Human Rights Center."

She represented a number of political prisoners who were arrested during the unrest that followed last year's disputed presidential election, won by Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

Khandan said his wife has become extremely weak after the hunger strikes.

"Given her physical condition, another dry hunger strike would be very dangerous for her," he said.

Since her arrest, Sotoudeh has been held in solitary confinement in Ward 209 of Tehran's Evin prison, which is thought to be overseen by the Intelligence Ministry.

Sotoudeh went on trial on November 15 but has not yet been sentenced.

Read more in Persian here

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