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Entrance to the Sharif University of Technology's campus in Tehran
Student activists are reported to be coming under pressure in Iran following opposition protests last month during which at least two students were killed, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

A former student activist of Tehran's Sharif University of Technology told Radio Farda on March 13 that 16-18 students of that university have been detained since mid-February.

But she said the total number could be higher as their families have been warned against publicizing their plights. She added that the university's Islamic Association has been barred from issuing statements or engaging in any other activities.

Meanwhile, Sajjad Rezaie, head of the Islamic Association of Tehran University's art faculty, has been suspended from his teaching duties pending a ruling by the university's disciplinary committee.

Rezaie had told the media that student Sanee Zhaleh, who was shot dead during a February 14 rally in Tehran, was a member of Mir Hossein Musavi's presidential campaign team in the June 2009 election. The government identified Zhaleh as a member of the Basij militia.

Arzhang Alipour, a student of architecture at Shiraz University who has been summoned three times to appear before the university's disciplinary committee, was arrested on March 12.

Alipour had given interviews to media describing how fellow student Hamed Nour-Mohammadi was killed during protests in the southwestern city of Shiraz on February 20.

In northern Iran, Zia Nabavi, a jailed student of Babol Noushirvani University of Technology, has been under pressure to appear in a televised interview.

Ali Nazari, former executive secretary of the Islamic Association at Mazandaran University, told Radio Farda that Nabavi had been asked to deny before a TV camera the existence of "starred students," meaning those barred from continuing their higher education because of their political activities.

Nabavi, a cofounder and spokesman of the Council to Defend the Right to Education, was arrested during the post-presidential election unrest in June 2009. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Read more in Farsi here
Youth activists are corraled by police in Baku on March 11, when Facebook activists called for "Great People's Day."
The chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Europe's main security and democracy organization, has told Azerbaijan to respect free assembly after police broke up peaceful protests last week and arrested dozens of people.

OSCE Chairman Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis, said he reminded Azerbaijani leaders of their commitment to democracy in meetings in Baku this week.

Azubalis was speaking at a news conference in neighboring Georgia.

Azerbaijan's government on March 11 stopped demonstrators from gathering after young activists inspired by popular uprisings in the Middle East used social media to call for street protests.

Dozens of people were arrested. At least 30 people have been sentenced to up to eight days in prison on charges of violating public order and defying police.

compiled from Reuters reports

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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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