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Iranian political activist and journalist Reza Hoda Saber, who died after a 10-day hunger strike at Evin prison.
The sister of prominent Iranian journalist and rights activist Reza Hoda Saber has confirmed her jailed brother's death following a 10-day hunger strike, according to RFE/RL's Radio Farda.

Saber had been transferred to a hospital from Tehran's Evin prison, where he had been held since being imprisoned along with hundreds of other activists and intellectuals in the wake of Iran's disputed June 2009 election.

His sister, Firouzeh Saber, told Radio Farda that the family believes authorities waited several hours after Saber complained of chest pains to hospitalize him.

From jail, Saber had launched his hunger strike on June 2 to protest the treatment of another jailed rights advocate, Haleh Sahabi, who died after what eyewitnesses described as a scuffle at the June 1 funeral of her father, himself a regime opponent who had served time in Iranian jails.

"There are three issues here," Firouzeh Saber told Radio Farda hours after his death. "First of all, why was he in prison? He had been in prison without having been sentenced. Second, why did a tragedy such as [Sahabi's] death happen, leading [Saber] to go on hunger strike? And third, why were [authorities] so careless that it took them several hours to take him to the hospital [after he complained of chest pains]."

This photo posted by the "Kaleme" opposition website suggested that relatives of Reza Hoda Saber gathered in front of Tehran's Modarres hospital after news of his death emerged on June 12.

The opposition "Kaleme" website was among the sources of the original report. The ISNA news agency said Saber's sister had identified his body.

Saber had previously been jailed on several occasions since 2000.
Uzbek rights activists demanded justice for Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan during a protest in Tashkent today.
Uzbek police today detained 15 rights activists staging a protest outside the Kyrgyz Embassy in Tashkent to mark last year's violence between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

The protesters, members of the Ezgulik (Goodness) and Expert working group, held up placards calling on Kyrgyz authorities to "stop persecuting" the Uzbek minority in Kyrgyzstan and to punish those responsible for what they called "genocide," a reference to the ethnic clashes that began one year ago and left some 470 people dead and thousands more injured or homeless.

Most of the victims in the violence were Uzbeks, tens of thousands of whom fled to Uzbekistan until the violence subsided.

International investigations of the violence support claims that Uzbeks were unjustly targeted but fail to substantiate Uzbek allegations that the reprisals constituted "genocide."

Vasila Inoyatova, chairwoman of the human rights group Ezgulik, told RFE/RL from a Tashkent detention center that the arrests were an "embarrassing act on the part of the Uzbek regime, which is not marking Kyrgyz events or allowing others to do so."

The activists in Tashkent also demanded the release of Azimjan Askarov, a prominent ethnic Uzbek rights activist sentenced to life imprisonment in Kyrgyzstan for his alleged role in the killing of a Kyrgyz policeman during the violence in June 2010.

Kyrgyz authorities have rejected international appeals for his release. No verdict on his appeal has been made.

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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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