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Members of the Teachers Association of Iran, with Rasul Bodaghi second from right
The lawyer for an Iranian teacher activist has told RFE/RL's Radio Farda his client has been beaten in prison.

Masud Shafie, who represents teachers' union leader Rasul Bodaghi, told Radio Farda on May 31 that his client informed him he had been assaulted late last week in prison by three Revolutionary Guards.

The lawyer said there is no evidence to justify Bodaghi's continuing imprisonment and that his client was simply trying to improve Iran's educational system.

Bodaghi, a member of the board of directors of the Iranian Teachers Trade Association. is being held at Rajaee Shahr prison in Karaj, west of Tehran.

Bodaghi has been imprisoned since September 2009. His lawyer says the charges against the teacher include "holding assemblies in order to act against the national security" and "propaganda activities against the Iranian regime."

In the year since Iran's disputed presidential election, an increasing number of teacher activists have been dismissed, forced to retire, detained, or even sentenced to death.

Kurdish teacher Farzad Kamangar was among five people hanged in Tehran's Evin prison last month for alleged links to terrorist groups.
Dzmitry Smyk after his acquittal
The central court in the Belarusian city of Homel has acquitted a Jehovah's Witness who had been charged with avoiding mandatory military service, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Dzmitry Smyk said that his belief did not allow him to bear arms. Judge Alena Tsalkova ruled that "Smyk's actions do not constitute a crime."

Smyk told RFE/RL after he left the courtroom a free man that he felt happy that justice had prevailed.

The Homel prosecutor has 10 days in which to file a motion against the court's decision.

Viktar Adzinochanka, who is a lecturer at Skaryna Religious University and a representative of the Christian Association in Belarus, told RFE/RL that the Belarusian authorities recently adopted a more realistic attitude toward Jehovah's Witnesses.

In Belarus, every male between the age of 18 and 27 has to serve in the army for two years.

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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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