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A U.S. clergyman who has been held in Iran since October 21 has told relatives he will be returning home on a flight arriving in Los Angeles later on October 23.

Eddie Romero spoke to his family by telephone on October 22 from Tehran. Romero traveled to Iran to protest the imprisonment of Christian converts in the Islamic republic.

On October 21, he appeared outside Iran's Evin Prison and began shouting, "Let my people go" in Persian.

He called for the release of Farshid Fathi, Saeed Abedini, Mostafa, Bordbar, and Alireza Seyyedian, as well as non-Christian rights activist Mohammad Ali Dadkhah.

Romero then surrendered peacefully to prison guards.

In 2008, Romero was arrested in Beijing during the Olympic Games for demanding the release of five Chinese activists.

Based on reporting by AP, ABC, and "The Epoch Times"
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez
A senior UN official has said that overcrowding in prison amounts to ill treatment or torture.

In a report issued in New York on October 22, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez estimated there are 10 million prisoners worldwide and that this population is "placing an enormous financial burden on states."

He added that UN standards on the treatment of prisoners were adopted more than half a century ago and no longer fully comply with international human rights law.

Mendez said the standards should also be extended to apply to mental institutions and police stations.

Mendez also urged the United States to improve prison conditions for Albert Woodfox, a former Black Panther member who was convicted of killing a Louisiana prison guard.

Woodfox has been held in solitary confinement for more than four decades.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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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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