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Iranian political activist and journalist Isa Saharkhiz (file photo)
A jailed Iranian journalist has warned that if his complaint against Iran's supreme leader, president, and chief prosecutor is not pursued he will appeal to international bodies, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Isa Saharkhiz said in an open letter on July 25 that if the head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, did not take action on his grievance in the coming month he would take his case to international courts and other bodies.

Saharkhiz has been in jail since he was detained in mass arrests following the disputed presidential election in June 2009.

Before his imprisonment, Saharkhiz had written an outspokenly critical letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Despite spending nearly a year in prison, there has been no verdict in Saharkhiz's case.

After a July 18 court session, Saharkhiz lodged his complaint against Khamenei, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, and chief prosecutor Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei.

U.S.-based Mehdi Saharkhiz, Saharkhiz's son, told Radio Farda that his father wanted the open letter to draw attention to the three men's conduct, even if the Iranian judiciary did not investigate the matter.

Mehdi Saharkhiz said that "these three men" were in power during his father's arrest and sentencing. "Though they did not issue the orders [in his father's case], they remained silent, which makes them an equal partner in crime."

He added that the family has had limited contact with Isa Saharkhiz during his imprisonment. "My father is in good health psychologically," Mehdi said. "It is his physical health that has worried us."

Mehdi Saharkhiz said his father's rib was broken during his arrest. He also said his 57-year-old father had been tortured in prison, calling his treatment "inhuman."

Since Isa Saharkhiz's jailing, little has been known about his condition in prison.
Yauhen Yakavenka
A court in the southeastern Belarusian region of Homel has annulled the sentence given to a Belarusian opposition activist for avoiding military service.

Yauhen Yakavenka, a member of the Belarusian Christian Democratic Party, was sentenced in June to one year of "restricted freedom" after being found guilty of refusing to report for military service.

Yakavenka had refused to respond to the Homel Military Commission's official enlistment notice because it was written in Russian. He demanded that the notice be written in Belarusian, arguing that the Belarusian Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to choose between Russian and Belarusian, the country's two official languages.

Judge Lyudmila Hrynko said in court on July 23 that she annulled the verdict and sentence against Yakavenka in accordance with an amnesty enacted by parliament to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.

-- Belarus Service

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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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