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Mir Hossein Musavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, were placed under house arrest in February 2011 after repeatedly challenging Iranian authorities over the disputed vote and human rights abuses.

A new photo of prominent Iranian opposition figures Mir Hossein Musavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard -- who have been held under house arrest for the past eight years -- has emerged on social media in the country.

The photo was reportedly first published on March 3 on the messaging app Telegram by the opposition Kalameh website.

It was widely shared on social media, including by the reformist Etemadonline news site, which posted the photo on its Twitter account without an explanation.

The photo was not published on the Etemadonline website.

Many journalists and activists inside the country also shared the photo, as well as a video where Mir Hossein is seen praying.

The video was reported to have been recorded at the house of Musavi’s sister.

Reports say authorities have in past months allowed Musavi and his wife to meet with close relatives.

Authorities have banned media from publishing their images after they were put under house arrest in 2011. Musavi and reformist cleric Mehdi Karrubi emerged as opposition leaders during Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election.

Musavi, 77, and Karrubi, 81, as well as Rahnavard, 73, a university professor, were placed under house arrest in February 2011 after repeatedly challenging Iranian authorities over the disputed vote and human rights abuses.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has faced criticism from reformists over failing to free the three despite 2013 and 2017 campaign promises.

The U.S. State Department condemned the continued arrest of Musavi, Rahnavard, and Karrubi last month on the anniversary of their house arrests, while calling for their release.

“We demand their immediate release and the release of all prisoners of conscience," State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a February 14 statement.

With reporting by AP
Sanja Mikleusevic Pavic (left), president of the management board of Croatian Radio and Television (HRT) and Hrvoje Zovko, president of Croatian Journalism Society (HND) in Zagreb.

Several hundred Croatian journalists have rallied in the capital, Zagreb, against what they call the curbing of press freedoms and pressure on journalists.

The rally on March 2 was organized by the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) in protest over more than 1,100 lawsuits filed against journalists and media outlets in the country.

The protesters marched through downtown Zagreb blowing whistles and playing drums.

"Enough of persecution of journalists...it has gone on for decades," Hrvoje Zovko, the leader of the HND, told the rally.

Zovko accused the government of "behaving ignorantly...and destroying journalism.”

"We live in a country where one can be condemned for publishing true information," he said.

The lawsuits have mainly been filed by politicians and other public figures, with most of them claiming compensation for nonmaterial damages such as "mental anguish" or "tarnished reputation.”

The issue came into focus after Croatia's public broadcaster, HRT, filed more than 30 lawsuits against its own and other journalists, including Zovko, who complained of censorship.

In January, both the International and European Federations of Journalists called on HRT management to drop the lawsuits.

Critics say the HRT, which is mainly financed through a monthly license fee paid by users, serves the ruling parties' interests rather than operating as a genuine public service.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP

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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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