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DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's nongovernmental organization Coalition Against Torture has issued a statement demanding investigations into the alleged mass beatings of prison inmates.

According to the rights group, prison guards brutally beat at least 50 inmates after their transfer from a Dushanbe jail to a prison labor camp in the northern city of Khujand a week ago.

The activists say that at least four of the beaten prisoners were witnesses in the September death of an inmate that has received heavy media coverage.

The statement lists six other suspicious deaths in custody.

Tajik Interior Ministry officials told RFE/RL that they plan to start visiting all prisons in the country soon to talk to inmates and deal with reported cases of rights violations.

With reporting by Interfax
Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh in an undated photo
Jailed Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been allowed to see her children in Tehran's notorious Evin prison for the first time in weeks.

Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, wrote on the Facebook social-media site that Sotoudeh was given permission to see her 5-year-old son, Nima, and 12-year-old daughter, Mehraveh, for several minutes on November 12.

Mehraveh reportedly said that her mother was continuing her hunger strike.

Sotoudeh stopped eating on October 31 after prison authorities banned her relatives from visiting her.

Last month, Sotoudeh was awarded the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for 2012.

Jailed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi also won the prize.

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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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