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Mohammad Ali Dadkhah
Two leading human rights groups have condemned a nine-year prison sentence upheld by a Tehran court for prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah.

Dadkhah also received a 10-year ban on practicing law.

Dadkhah, who has defended a number of political prisoners in Iran, including a Christian pastor on death row for apostasy, is a founding member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), along with Nobel Peace Prize-winner Shirin Ebadi.

Amnesty International has called on Iran to repeal Dadkhah's sentence, which they called "another nail in the coffin for freedom of expression and association in Iran."

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders said Iran should drop the charges and release four other DRHC members jailed in Iran.
The London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International has called on Tajik authorities to put an end to torture.

In a statement, the watchdog urged Tajikistan's leadership to ensure thorough, impartial, and independent investigations into all allegations of torture during detention.

Amnesty expressed particular concern over reports about delays in launching an investigation into the alleged torture of a 31-year-old Tajik citizen.

Amnesty International's researcher on Tajikistan, Rachel Bugler, told RFE/RL that her organization is concerned that while Tajik authorities pledge to stop the torture of suspects in custody to the international community, more reports emerge of alleged beatings and torture by police of individuals who were not proven guilty.

Bugler said a system in which citizens do not trust their own police force cannot function.

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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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