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Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, undated
Jailed Iranian blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki has been transferred to a hospital, his family has told RFE/RL.

Ronaghi Maleki has been on hunger strike since more than a week ago to protest his detention conditions.

The 26-year-old blogger has said that he will refuse to eat food until he is granted medical leave.

Amnesty International said last week Ronaghi Maleki had developed kidney disease since his arrest.

According to the rights group, Ronaghi Maleki has undergone at least four operations and now requires another to remove his left kidney.

Ronaghi Maleki was jailed following the 2009 antigovernment protests and sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges that included insulting Iran's leaders and spreading propaganda against the Islamic establishment.

Ronaghi Maleki has been reportedly subjected to psychological and physical torture in prison.
Azerbaijani Activist Freed From Prison
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Azerbaijani authorities have released a prominent youth activist nine months before the end of a two-year jail term he was ordered to serve soon after helping to organize an antigovernment demonstration.

The release of Baxtiyar Haciyev comes on the eve of U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton's scheduled visit to Baku on June 6.

The move was welcomed by the OSCE's representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatovic, who was quoted in a statement as saying she hoped Baku would release all imprisoned journalists.

“The decision to release Haciyev is a positive step. However, the authorities could do more to foster freedom of expression by liberating all imprisoned journalists. I look forward to hearing more good news from Azerbaijan in the near future,” Mijatovic said.

Haciyev, 30, is a former parliamentary candidate and a graduate of Harvard University.

He was arrested in March 2011 ahead of a planned demonstration against the Azerbaijani government that he helped organize.

In May 2011, he was convicted on charges of evading military service and sentenced to two years in prison.

Haciyev has denied any wrongdoing.

Last month, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators urged Azerbaijan to release Haciyev, calling his arrest “cruel treatment” and a breach of rights to freedom of expression and association.

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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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