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Reports say at least 16 people have been hanged in Iran since the start of this year.

Iran's Fars news agency reported on January 4 that three men convicted of rape had been hanged in the northeastern town of Torqabeh.

Fars said the three were hanged "publicly in the presence of judiciary officials from Torqabeh."

The U.S.-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported on January 4 that 13 people had been executed on January 1.

HRANA said seven prisoners convicted on drug charges were hanged in the Shehab prison in the southern Kerman Province.

That same day, four women convicted on drug charges were also hanged in the Bam prison and two men in a prison in Bandar Abbas.

Sahamnews reported on January 5 that a 22-year-old member of the Basij paramilitary force was convicted on charges of attacking a woman and waging war against God in the southern Fars Province and was sentenced to death.

Based on reporting by Fars news agency, Sahamnews, and HRANA

One of Russia's most respected independent regional television stations went off the air shortly after midnight after the local state-owned broadcasting center canceled its transmission agreement.

Tomsk TV-2 in western Siberia ended terrestrial broadcasting on January 1.

According to Interfax, the channel can still be seen via cable.

Instead of broadcasting Russian President Vladimir Putin's traditional New Year's message, the station broadcast a message from chief editor Viktor Muchnik, thanking viewers for supporting the channel over the last 23 years.

Local courts rejected three appeals from Tomsk TV-2 arguing that the broadcast center's decision to cancel the contract even though Tomsk TV-2 has a broadcasting license was illegal.

Tomsk TV-2 is an award-winning regional channel that is known for its editorial independence.

Staff and management believe the decision to close it was politically motivated.

With reporting by Interfax

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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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