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French-Iranian academic Adelkhah Fariba (file photo_

A lawyer for an Iranian-French academic detained in Iran for eight months says his client has ended a six-week hunger strike.

Fariba Adelkhah "responded to a written request from civil and political activists and ended her hunger strike at midday," the lawyer, Said Dehghan, told the AFP news agency on February 12.

Dehghan said Adelkhah began her hunger strike on December 24.

"Her mental and physical condition is not good, she has been weakened," he said. "Her voice was difficult to hear and she has difficulty walking."

Adelkhah, an expert on Iran and Shi'ite Islam, was arrested in Tehran in June 2019.

She is being held in Tehran’s Evin prison as she awaits trial on charges including spreading "propaganda against the political system" of Iran.

Adelkhah's partner and colleague at Paris's Sciences Po University, Roland Marchal, was also arrested by Iranian authorities in June while visiting her.

Iran, which does not recognize dual nationality, has repeatedly rejected calls from Paris to release the two.

Based on reporting by AFP and RFE/RL’s Radio Farda
There are estimated to be more than 60 political prisoners behind bars in RUssia (illustrative photo)

More than 100 Russian writers, poets, journalists, interpreters, literature experts, publishers, and other cultural figures have issued a letter expressing solidarity with political prisoners.

"Every Friday, hundreds of demonstrators in Moscow and St. Petersburg gather at metro stations, demanding justice and freedom for you. The weekly pickets are turning into a tradition in other cities of Russia," says the letter, which was published on February 11 by the website Colta.ru, says.

"Every day we spread the truth about you, about charges you faced, and about your sentences' being wrong. Every day we find ways to help your families and friends. We hope that our statement today will reach you in some way in your prison cell or camp barrack and you will see once again that dozens and hundreds of people outside constantly think about your fates, your future and will do everything they can for your freedom and ours," the letter says.

According to the Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Center, there are 64 individuals in Russia currently jailed on politically motivated charges.

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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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