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The husband of jailed student activist Bahareh Hedayat hasn't been allowed to see her for three months.
The families of several Iranian political prisoners have written an open letter to judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani saying their loved ones are being denied basic rights, including phone calls and visitations, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The letter, published on February 26, says protesters arrested following the 2009 presidential election -- including political activists, university professors, journalists, and students -- do not enjoy the same rights as other prisoners.

Amin Ahmadian, husband of jailed student activist Bahareh Hedayat, told Radio Farda on February 27 that he was last allowed to visit his wife three months ago, and has been able to speak to her by telephone only once in the past five months.

Hedayat, a senior member of Iran's largest pro-reform student group, the Office to Foster Unity, was arrested in December 2009. She has been sentenced to 9 1/2 years in jail.

Ahmadian, who is one of the signatories of the letter, said that in December his wife was diagnosed by a prison physician with gall stones but was not given a release for medical treatment.

Meanwhile, a number of students at the Babol Noushirvani University of Technology in northern Iran were arrested during opposition rallies in February.

Student activist Salman Sima told Radio Farda that one student who was recently released said those who were arrested had been beaten in detention while blindfolded.

Iranian Science Minister Kamran Daneshjou said on February 26 that any faculty member or student who cooperates with the "sedition," a reference to Iran's opposition Green Movement, is working with counterrevolutionaries and will be "treated severely."

Read more in Persian here
Natalya Radzina
A Belarusian opposition activist was summoned by police today for commenting on charges of torture made by a former presidential candidate, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

The charges were made on February 28 by former candidate Ales Mikhalevich, who compared the KGB jail where he was held for two months to a "concentration camp."

Mikhalevich told journalists that the jail guards made him stand outside naked in the freezing cold, deprived him of sleep, dragged him on the floor while handcuffed, kept him in an overcrowded cell, and interrogated him without a lawyer present.

Natalya Radzina, the editor of the opposition Charter-97 website, told RFE/RL that she heard commands given by guards to male inmates of the KGB pretrial detention center that corroborate what Mikhalevich told journalists.

Radzina told RFE/RL that she was summoned by police, who said her comments violated certain rules because she is currently under investigation.

Radzina was arrested in December and charged with organizing and participating in mass unrest following the disputed December 19 presidential election. She was released from a KGB pretrial detention center and sent to her native town of Kobryn in January.

Police ordered her not to leave Kobryn until the investigation in her case is completed.

Read more in Belarusian

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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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