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Human Rights House of Iran puts the number of arrests at 1,256.
Iran has arrested more than 1,250 people over the past 12 months for participating in protests or for their political views, according to a human rights group, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The report by the Human Rights House of Iran (HRHI), which is based outside Iran, says at least 1,256 people including students and journalists were arrested in the period.

HRHI's Mojtaba Samienejad told Radio Farda that those arrested include 185 students*, 165 members of religious minorities, 129 political activists, 129 Kurdish activists, 43 journalists and bloggers, 40 Turkoman activists, 22 labor activists, 20 human rights activists, eight women's rights activists, and eight Arab activists.

Most were detained in Tehran, the center of most of the protests.

Samienejad said the number of people detained does not include those whose arrests were not made public by their family members or the judicial authorities.

"Obviously, providing the total number of detainees in Iran is impossible," Samienejad said. He said that is because there is no free access to relevant information about detainees and because prisoners and their families could be endangered if they go public with such information.

He added that many other people were arrested or detained between February 20 and March 20, but the authorities have provided almost no information about those detentions.

That includes unconfirmed reports that opposition Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi and their wives had been detained by security forces during that time.

* CORRECTION: This story initially said 85 students had been jailed; the correct figure is 185.

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Mourners at the funeral in December 2009 of slain Kyrgyz opposition journalist Gennady Pavlyuk
BISHKEK -- Kazakh police say an investigation into the killing of Kyrgyz journalist Gennady Pavlyuk in 2009 does not indicate it was politically motivated, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Pavlyuk, 51, was thrown with his arms and legs bound from a high-rise building in Almaty on December 16, 2009. He died in a hospital six days later.

Kazakh police said the investigation showed that the people who killed Pavlyuk were trying to get him to tell them the combination to a safe that held valuable gems.

Akhmat Alagushev, a lawyer who represents Pavlyuk's wife, confirmed to RFE/RL after seeing the results of the investigation that the findings do not indicate that Pavlyuk's murder was political.

Many of Pavlyuk's friends and relatives have dismissed the findings by Kazakh police and are unhappy that Kyrgyz officials are not investigating his murder, which they believe was ordered and planned in Kyrgyzstan.

Before traveling to Almaty, Pavlyuk had met with friend and political ally Omurbek Tekebaev, chairman of the Ata-Meken party, which was in fierce opposition to the Kyrgyz president at the time, Kurmanbek Bakiev.

Tekebaev told RFE/RL that Pavlyuk's murder was "for political reasons, it is absolutely clear to everyone."

He said he doubts that the Kyrgyz Security Service has cooperated closely with its Kazakh colleagues.

"Pavlyuk had been watched [by the Kyrgyz Security Service] and [his phone] tapped; even his visit to Almaty was controlled by the Kyrgyz Security Service," Tekebaev said. "Certainly the accused guys are not going to admit that they performed a political order [from Bakiev in murdering Pavlyuk]."

Pavlyuk, an ethnic Russian, was known in Kyrgyzstan under the pseudonym Rustam Ibragimbek. He founded the "White Steamer" newspaper and website and wrote for the newspaper "Vecherny Bishkek" (Evening Bishkek) and the Russian weekly "Argumenty i fakty."

Pavlyuk's friends, colleagues, and relatives say he was killed for his professional activities and his plans to set up an opposition website.

The Kazakh authorities announced in December 2010 -- one year after Pavlyuk's murder -- the arrest in Almaty of Kyrgyz citizen Aldayar Ismankulov as a suspect in the killing.

Read more in Kyrgyz here

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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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