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Russian activist Sergei Shavrov-Delaunay just after his release from police custody, where he had been taken after attending a protest on Moscow's Red Square on August 25.

Police in Moscow on August 25 detained three people on Red Square commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1968 protest there against the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Those detained included relatives of two of the eight protesters who were hauled away by Soviet secret police fifty years ago for protesting against the invasion by Warsaw Pact troops that brought an end to Czechoslovakia's attempted liberalization of the communist system.

Those detained at the August 25 commemoration included veteran Russian liberal politician Leonid Gozman and rights activist Sergei Sharov-Delaunay -- a cousin of the late Vadim Delaunay, a Soviet poet dissident who participated in the 1968 action.

Also detained was Anna Krasovitskaya, granddaughter of the late poet and translator Natalya Gorbanevskaya, who was held in a psychiatric hospital after her arrest for the 1968 protest and later emigrated to the West.

Gozman and Delaunay were detained as they attempted to unfurl one banner that read "For Our Freedom And Yours" and another honoring the 1968 protesters, according to a correspondent for RFE/RL's Russian Service at the scene.

Krasovitskaya stood with a placard supporting Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who is currently on an extended hunger strike to protest his imprisonment in Russia

Sentsov, a vocal opponent of Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, was sentenced in 2015 for conspiracy to commit terrorist acts, charges he and human rights groups say were politically motivated.

Gozman, Sharov-Delaunay, and Krasovitskaya were all later released but were written up for allegedly violating laws on public demonstrations, according to the Russian news portal OVD-Info, which tracks detentions of protesters.

One of the original 1968 protesters -- physicist Pavel Litvinov -- was among the dozens of participants in the August 25 demonstration.

Litvinov is one of only three surviving 1968 protesters, most of whom suffered years of exile or imprisonment due to the action.

In June, the Czech Republic honored the three -- Litvinov, Tatyana Bayeva, and Viktor Fainberg -- to mark the 50th anniversary of their protest.

With reporting by AFP,, and Ekho Moskvy
Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh (file photo)

A prominent human rights lawyer in Iran says she has started a hunger strike while in jail on accusations of antigovernment activities.

The hunger strike by Nasrin Sotoudeh was announced on August 25 on the Facebook page of her husband, Reza Khandan.

The Facebook posts said the move was motivated by authorities' pressure on Sotoudeh's relatives and friends, as well as a failure by officials to respond to her requests.

Authorities arrested Sotoudeh, 55, in June to serve a five-year sentence issued against her in absentia in September 2016 for allegedly carrying out "activities against national security in collaboration with domestic and foreign antirevolutionary elements," according to Human Rights Watch.

International rights groups and the U.S. government have denounced the arrest of the lawyer, who earlier in 2018 represented several women detained for publicly protesting the compulsory hijab.

Sotoudeh's lawyer said earlier this month that she has also been accused of espionage on top of the other charges.

Sotoudeh -- the co-winner of the European Parliament's 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought -- has denied all charges against her.

As outspoken critic of the Iranian establishment, Sotoudeh has previously spent several years in prison on security charges, including acting against Iran's national security.

She has defended journalists, rights activists, and juveniles.

With reporting by dpa, AFP, and IRNA

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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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