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Lenin monument in Navahradak
Prosecutors today demanded that Yury Kazak, an active member of the unregistered Belarusian Christian Democracy, pay a fine equal to $2,700 for defacing a statue of Lenin, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Kazak pleaded guilty, admitting that he poured green paint over the statue in the city of Navahradak on November 7.

Kazak said he did so because of his belief that commemorating Lenin in Belarus is a crime and flouts history.

The judge postponed passing sentence until January 11, 2010.

Supporters of Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad hold up placards with slogans against the British media during a rally held in Tehran in June.
An international media rights group has described Iran's disputed presidential election as one of the most dangerous stories for journalists to cover in 2009.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said the June election and the protests that followed "prompted a horrifying wave of repression against the media."

It also said it was concerned at the "mass exodus" this year of journalists from repressive countries such as Iran.

The group also said journalists and human rights defenders in Russia's North Caucasus "went through a terrifying year."

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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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