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Amnesty International is launching a letter-writing campaign in support of individuals and communities suffering human rights abuses.

Amnesty says it hopes the "Write For Rights" campaign, from December 6-17, will generate more than 2 million letters, faxes, e-mails, and text messages in support of 12 individuals and communities.

The rights watchdog's campaign is devoted to pressuring authorities to release prisoners in five countries -- Ethiopia, Burma, Bahrain, Tunisia, and Russia -- and for authorities to stop victimizing individuals in Cambodia, Mexico, Turkey, and Belarus.

The campaign also seeks to halt the persecution of communities in Nigeria, Palestine, and Honduras.

In Russia, Amnesty has described as "prisoners of conscience" three people jailed after last year’s Bolotnaya Square protests.

In Belarus, Amnesty says Ihar Tsikhanyuk, described as a "drag artist," faces police harassment.
Aron Atabek was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 2007 for his role in organizing mass protests that resulted in the death of a police officer.
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Jailed Kazakh dissident Aron Atabek will be transferred to a minimum-security penal colony.

Atabek's lawyer, Vasily Sadykov, told RFE/RL on December 5 that his client will be transferred soon from the Qarazhal maximum-security labor camp in central Kazakhstan to a minimum-security prison near Almaty, closer to his family.

Atabek had been transferred at least twice to even tougher prisons in Kazakhstan's north recently for his refusal to follow penitentiary regulations.

Amnesty International expressed concern about Atabek's long-term treatment in solitary confinement earlier this year.

Atabek, 60, who is a poet, was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 2007 for his role in organizing mass protests that resulted in the death of a police officer.

Atabek has maintained his innocence and rejected a government pardon in exchange for admitting his guilt.

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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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