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Zainab Jalalian has been imprisoned since 2008 without access to a lawyer.
A prominent Iranian lawyer says he fears a female Kurdish activist imprisoned in Tehran is in danger of imminent execution, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Lawyer Khalil Bahramian told Radio Farda on June 30 that he wants to represent Zeinab Jalalian, but Iranian officials will not let him.

Jalalian was sentenced to death in 2009 for "enmity against God" because of her alleged ties to a Kurdish nationalist group, the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK). Her trial lasted only a few minutes and she was not allowed to have a lawyer represent her.

"Only a few days ago I found out that Zeinab is detained in section 209 of Evin prison," Bahramian told Radio Farda. "[On Wednesday] I went to Evin prison but they didn't let me visit her or draw up power of attorney papers."

Bahramian had previously represented Farzad Kamangar, one of four Kurdish activists executed in Iran in May. Those death sentences, carried out without prior notice to the lawyers and families, drew international criticism.

Jalalian, 28, was arrested in 2008 in the western Iranian city of Kermanshah. She was first held in Sanandaj prison and then transferred without explanation to the notorious Evin prison.

Jalalian's death sentence has been confirmed by the Supreme Court and the case passed on to the Sentence Enforcement Bureau.

Faraz Sanei of Human Rights Watch told Radio Farda that it is unimaginable that a prisoner held for as long as Jalalian has not had access to a lawyer.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW)has called on the judiciary to immediately halt plans to execute Jalalian. Like Bahramian, HRW said that Jalalian is at "great risk of imminent execution."

The HRW statement added that Jalalian is one of 17 Kurdish prisoners currently on death row.
A computer displays the virtual "anticensorship shelter" to protect bloggers around the world from repressive authorities at the Paris headquarters of Reporters Without Borders.
With 120 bloggers and citizen journalists locked up around the world, the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has decided to fight back by opening an "anticensorship shelter."

At their headquarters in Paris, RSF and the communications security firm XeroBank have created a sort of Batcave of censorship-breaking technology – high-speed Internet with an anonymous IP address, encrypted e-mail, etc., all free of charge.

The shelter is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday for use by "journalists, bloggers, and dissidents who are refugees or just passing through."

Outside of Paris, bloggers can access the virtually untraceable network though an access code and secure USB drives, available through RSF's bureaus.

Spokeswoman Lucy Morillon tells RFE/RL's Russian Service that more and more countries are blocking citizens’ access to certain websites or simply blocking the Internet altogether.

Countries like Iran, China, and Myanmar are famous for blocking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. But Morillon says less-publicized cases of censorship have occurred in more than 60 countries -- for example, Tunisia.

"No one really talks about it, but Tunisia uses really sophisticated technology to block websites and track those who post information," Morillon says. "Tunisian bloggers have to be really careful about what they write on the Internet.”

-- Ashley Cleek

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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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