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Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh, editor of the "Zanan" quarterly journal, left Iran several months ago.
Two Iranian rights activists arrested on their way to the funeral of a senior dissident cleric last year have won international press freedom awards, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The two are jailed blogger Kouhyar Goudarzi and prominent women's rights activist Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh.

The two were arrested on their way to take part in the funeral in Tehran last December of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, which attracted tens of thousands of mourners.

Abbasgholizadeh was one of two recipients of the German Palm Foundation's press freedom award for this year, which was announced on August 26.

Abbasgholizadeh, who left Iran several months ago, was sentenced in absentia in May to 2 1/2 years in jail and 30 lashes on charges of acting against national security over a 2007 protest.

"This award gives me the opportunity to show the situation in Iran, especially that of women, and the character of Iranian women in the postelection crackdown," she told RFE/RL.

She also said she would use the 20,000-euro ($25,418) prize money to raise international awareness of the plight of women in Iran by making documentaries and publishing articles.

The award is named for German bookseller Johann Philip Palm, who was executed in 1806 for publishing a document critical of French occupation troops.

Kouhyar Goudarzi, currently in prison in Iran
Blogger Goudarzi was chosen on August 25 as the recipient of the 2010 John Aubuchon Freedom of the Press Award from the U.S. National Press Club.

Goudarzi, a journalist for the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, was charged with heresy, propaganda against the regime, and participating in illegal gatherings.

He was among 17 political prisoners who went on hunger strike late last month to protest against the worsening conditions at Tehran's Evin prison.

Club president Alan Bjerga said Goudarzi reminded "us of the importance of working for a free press in the United States and abroad."
Human rights activist Yevgeny Zhovtis
The head of a European human rights watchdog has visited jailed Kazakh rights activist Yevgeny Zhovtis to congratulate him on being awarded the group's annual prize, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Bjorn Engesland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, spent two hours with Zhovtis at the prison in northeastern city of Oskemen on August 26.

The committee awarded Zhovtis its Andrey Sakharov Freedom Award 2010, describing him as "one of the most significant human rights defenders in Kazakhstan for two decades."

It said that through his work, Zhovtis had "contributed to the strengthening of human rights in his home country."

Zhovtis was sentenced to four years in prison last year over a car accident in which he killed a pedestrian. An initial police investigation that found him not responsible for the crash was later overturned. His supporters say the authorities used the case to put pressure on Zhovtis and punish him for his activities.

Roza Akylbekova, the acting director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, will receive the award on Zhovtis's behalf at a ceremony in Oslo on September 9.

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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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