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Aigul Karabalina (center) was a coordinator of an art exhibition that received criticism from anti-feminism groups.

BISHKEK -- A prominent activist in Kyrgyzstan has reported being attacked in Bishkek by unknown assailants against a backdrop of recent protests by anti-feminism groups.

Aigul Karabalina, who was born in neighboring Kazakhstan but lives in Bishkek, said on Facebook on December 27 that two unknown men attacked her late on December 26.

She said she suffered a concussion and bruise under the eye and planned to leave Kyrgyzstan with her child out of concern for their safety.

"I'm scared and I want to leave so I don't endanger my baby," Karabalina wrote.

Karabalina was a coordinator of the 1st Feminnale exhibition of contemporary art that was held at the Gapar Aitiev Arts Museum in Bishkek in late November despite pressure from anti-feminism groups.

'Free The Nipples': Feminist Art Censored In Kyrgyzstan
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WATCH: 'Free The Nipples': Feminist Art Censored In Kyrgyzstan

A performance by a partially dressed Danish activist seeking to draw attention to the plight of sex workers caused a local outcry among conservatives in the Central Asian state of around 6 million people.

Anti-feminism groups met with Culture Minister Azamat Jamankulov on December 2 demanding that he ban similar events in the future.

Museum director Mira Jangaracheva was forced to resign, saying she and subordinates had received death threats.

Anti-feminism groups also held a public event called The Certain Route, seeking to "preserve" what they described as "national roots and culture."

They publicly condemned the Feminnale and placed posters on Bishkek public transportation that read, "Nation Is Above Law," "You Can Divorce, But Do Not Separate From Nation," and "Do Not Strip, It's Shameful!"

Kylie Moore-Gilbert (left) and Fariba Adelkhah are locked up in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

Two academics imprisoned in Tehran's notorious Evin prison have begun hunger strikes to call for the release of all researchers and political prisoners in Iran who have been "unjustly imprisoned on trumped-up charges."

Iranian-born French researcher Fariba Adelkhah and Australian university lecturer Kylie Moore-Gilbert reportedly began refusing food on December 24.

Their protests were reported by the New York-based Center For Human Rights In Iran and Sciences Po's research center CERI, where Adelkhah works.

CERI quoted an open letter by the two women as saying that they had been subjected "to psychological torture and numerous violations of our basic human rights."

AFP reported on December 27 that France had summoned Iran's ambassador over the "intolerable" detention of the academics, citing the Foreign Ministry.

The ministry said it had expressed "grave concern" and the ambassador "was reminded of France's demand that Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal are released without delay and that the Iranian authorities show total transparency over their situation."

Adelkhah, an anthropologist who has authored several books on Iran, was reportedly detained in June on espionage charges.

Another researcher from Sciences Po in Paris, Roland Marchal, is also incarcerated in Iran.

Moore-Gilbert, a University of Melbourne Middle East scholar, has been in Iranian custody since October 2018. She was sentenced to 10 years in jail for espionage.

Iran has arrested dozens of dual nationals in recent years on espionage charges that they and their governments say are groundless.

Iranian authorities have not provided any solid evidence to back their claims.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and dpa

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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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