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Havel Writes Letter To Putin Over Human Rights

(AFP) 15 November 2005 -- Former Czech President Vaclav Havel has sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin urging him to improve the state of human rights in Russia.

Jakub Hladik, a spokesman for Havel, said today the letter expresses concerns about growing clampdown by the Russian government on opposition political parties, the media, and the judicial system.

It also calls on Putin to respect international democratic standards and individual freedoms.

The letter was coauthored by eight former political leaders, including ex-Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Mary Robinson, who served as both president of Ireland and the United Nations high commissioner for human rights.