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Bahareh Hedayat (right) and her husband Amin Ahmadian pose for a photograph from 2012.

Prominent student activist and women's rights advocate Bahareh Hedayat has been released in Iran after spending more than six years in jail, her husband says.

Amin Ahmadian,announced Hedayat's release in a post on Instagram where he said he couldn’t believe that she was finally free.

Hedayat was among scores of activists, intellectuals, and reformist figures who were arrested and sentenced to prison during the state crackdown that followed the disputed 2009 reelection of Iran’s former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

She was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison after being convicted of charges that included "acting against national security," "insulting the leader," and "insulting the president."

While in jail, she had been reportedly sentenced to an additional six months for writing a letter, with fellow jailed student activist Majid Tavakoli, calling on students to continue their peaceful struggle for more rights.

Rights groups had repeatedly called for her release.

Ilmi Umerov was charged with separatism in May after he made public statements opposing Moscow's seizure of the peninsula from Ukraine.

A noted Crimean Tatar activist who has been forced into a psychiatric hospital in Russian-occupied Crimea says the conditions he’s facing are a threat to his physical health.

Ilmi Umerov, the former deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatars' self-governing body, the Mejlis, was charged with separatism in May after he made public statements opposing Moscow's seizure of the peninsula from Ukraine.

In August, he was forcibly admitted to a psychiatric clinic for a month of assessment tests.

Umerov, 59, spoke to a Reuters reporter who gained access to the hospital in Simferopol, where he’s being held.

Umerov, whose relatives and lawyers say he suffers from diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and heart problems, said he had been forced to live in squalid, crowded conditions that endangered his health.

"With this bouquet [of ailments], to be in such conditions is of course dangerous," he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

He added that on his fourth day at the clinic he collapsed and lost consciousness.

He also said that he had been barred from speaking to journalists.

Human Rights Watch has urged the Russian-backed authorities in Crimea to drop the charges against Umerov and provide him with necessary medical treatment.

The Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Center has called the case against Umerov "illegal and politically motivated."

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has compared Umerov's detention to the Soviet-era practice of holding dissidents in psychiatric hospitals.

Based on reporting by Reuters 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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