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The Council of Europe says Georgia has made some progress in overhauling its justice system, but expressed concerns that the authorities may be abusing the law to target the opposition.

In a report, Nils Muiznieks, human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe, said long-standing structural problems needed serious attention, in particular the independence of the judiciary.

"The commissioner is concerned about allegations of politically motivated measures targeting members of the opposition, especially with regard to the use of pretrial-detention measures against them," he said.

Dozens of former officials who served ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, including a former prime minister, have been arrested on charges such as abuse of power and corruption since Saakashvili's government lost power in 2012.

Wanted in Georgia on charges he abused his authority, Saakashvili currently lives in Ukraine, where he is the governor of the Odesa region.

Based on reporting by Reuters
Poet Hila Sedighi

A popular Iranian poet has been released on bail after being detained upon arrival in Iran, RFE/RL’s Radio Farda reports.

Hila Sedighi, who has criticized state repression in her poems, was released on January 9.

Sedighi was detained on January 7 at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport after a flight from the United Arab Emirates.

Authorities have not commented on the reason for her detention.

The New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said on January 7 that her arrest appeared to have been linked to a sentence issued in absentia in connection with her cultural activities.

Sedighi, 30, had also been detained in 2011 and sentenced to a suspended four-month prison sentence.

Sedighi was among 41 writers around the world who received prestigious grants from Human Rights Watch in 2012 “for their commitment to freedom of expression and their courage in face of persecution.”

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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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