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Jailed lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh (in an undated photo) began her hunger strike on October 31.
Sources in Tehran say that eight female inmates in Evin prison have stopped their hunger strike and plan to pursue legal action against prison guards whom they accuse of mistreating them.

Nine women started the hunger strike last week to protest beatings and insults by the guards.

One of the women ended her hunger strike earlier after she was hospitalized due to her deteriorating health.

Earlier, the international media-rights group Reporters Without Borders urged the women to begin eating, fearing they could die.

Three of the women are journalists and online activists.

Jailed Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh continues her hunger strike in the same prison.

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

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.
Miklos Haraszti
The new UN special rapporteur on human rights in Belarus has called on the authorities and civil society to engage in an open dialogue aimed at the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

Speaking as he assumed his position on November 1, Miklos Haraszti said, "I would like to invite the Belarusian authorities, state institutions, and civil society to enter into an open dialogue with me on human rights issues confronting the country."

Haraszti said that human rights experts will meet with the Belarusian government to discuss ways to exchange information.

He added, "I hope to assist the government and people of Belarus in improving the human rights situation in the country in line with international human rights norms."

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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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