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Jailed blogger Hossein Ronaghi
A jailed Iranian blogger is reported to have been denied leave to undergo kidney surgery, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Hossein Ronaghi was arrested in December 2009 during the crackdown following mass protests against that summer's presidential election. He was later sentenced to 15 years in jail and is currently in Tehran's Evin prison.

Relatives say Ronaghi developed severe kidney problems while in detention but refused to undergo surgery in prison.

He requested that his family be present during the surgery and asked for leave to get the operation done outside prison.

But one of Ronaghi’s close relatives, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons, told Radio Farda on February 2 that Evin authorities had denied Ronaghi temporary leave.

"Despite meeting several times with the authorities during my visit to Tehran, I was unable to convince them to grant Ronaghi leave for surgery," he said.

"His need for surgery is indispensable and the chance that one of his kidneys might fail permanently increases by the second. He might need surgery to remove his kidney. They are wasting vital time," he added.

The relative also said Ronaghi's immediate family has been allowed to visit him this week but that his lawyer has been banned from seeing him in prison, "which is a basic right of any prisoner."
Farzad Kamangar was hanged in May 2010.
A prominent Iranian human rights lawyer who represented political activists is reported to have been jailed for 18 months and banned from practicing law for 10 years.

Opposition websites Jaras and Kalemeh reported that Khalil Bahramian was found guilty of "spreading propaganda against the regime" and "insulting the head of the judiciary."

Bahramian is a member of the Paris-based International Committee against Execution. He has represented a large number of political activists, including Kurdish teacher Farzad Kamangar, who was hanged in Tehran's Evin prison in May 2010 along with four other prisoners.

Bahramian told RFE/RL's Radio Farda at the time that the execution of those five violated the law. He further criticized the judiciary, saying courts act arbitrarily.

Several other Iranian activists have been handed prison terms over the past week. Mahboubeh Karami, a women's rights activist and member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, was jailed for three years.

Student activist Shohreh Kazemi was given a three-month suspended sentence for "spreading propaganda against the regime through writing slogans and distributing CDs."

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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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