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Majid Tavakoli
Jailed Iranian student leader Majid Tavakoli has been transferred from Tehran's Evin prison to the nearby Rajaeeshahr prison, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Tavakoli's brother, Ali Tavakoli, told RFE/RL that neither Majid's lawyer nor his family were told that Majid had been transferred on August 15 to the prison in Karaj, which is 20 kilometers outside of Tehran.

"One of our friends from Rajaeeshahr prison told us that he saw Majid in the quarantine section," Ali Tavakoli told RFE/RL. "Our last contact with Majid was 22 days ago."

Ali Tavakoli said the family has no knowledge of Majid's health. They said he was one of 17 political prisoners who recently went on a hunger strike for several weeks.

At one point during the strike, Tavakoli was reportedly transferred to the hospital in Evin prison due to failing health.

Ali Tavakoli said that his parents are old and in poor health and therefore unable to visit the prison frequently.

Majid Tavakoli -- one of the most prominent symbols of Iran's embattled student movement -- was arrested in December 2009. His arrest came shortly after he accused the Iranian government of human rights abuses and of "enmity against democracy" during a rally at Tehran's Amirkabir University.

Rajaeeshahr has been described by some news organizations as a notorious prison, where political prisoners are often transfered as punishment.

Ali Tavakoli told RFE/RL that his brother has not been charged with any crime or sentenced.
Vaxtang Maisaia
Two prisoners in Georgia have declared a hunger strike until the government frees those who they say are political prisoners, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reports.

Melor Vachnadze and Vaxtang Maisaia began their hunger strike on August 17.

Melor Vachnadze
Vachnadze was arrested one year ago on charges of fraud and was given a four-year sentence. Vachnadze played an active role in protests following the 2007 presidential election.

Maisaia, a former Georgian representative to NATO and military expert, was arrested in May 2009 and charged with spying, which carries a 20-year prison term. His trial has been deemed "confidential" by the Georgian government because it involves espionage.

Journalists and human rights activists have not been informed of the proceedings.

Ucha Nanuachvili, director of the Human Rights Center in Tbilisi, told RFE/RL he doubts the hunger strike will be effective.

"Without external presssure -- without pressure from the European Union, the United States, or Western countries -- it's impossible to change something here [in Georgia]," he said.

Nanuachvili said there are currently more than 60 political prisoners in Georgian prisons.

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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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