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Golrokh Iraee (left) and Atena Daemi

Amnesty International says two Iranian human rights activists are enduring "appalling treatment" in a prison outside Tehran.

In a statement on March 9, Amnesty International said Atena Daemi and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee were being held in "unsanitary conditions" in the Shahr-e Rey prison, on the outskirts of Tehran, and their access to the outside world was being "severely restricted."

London-based Amnesty International called for the "women's immediate and unconditional release."

"We are extremely alarmed by reports from Shahr-e Rey prison about the targeting and escalating ill treatment of Golrokh and Atena," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s research and advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"They should never have been imprisoned in the first place, and now it seems the Iranian authorities are deliberately subjecting them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment because of their outspoken activism and continued human rights work, even behind bars," Luther added.

Iraee is serving a three-year sentence for writing an unpublished fictional story about the horrific practice of stoning.

Daemi is serving a sentence of seven years for distributing leaflets and writing posts on Facebook and Twitter that criticized Iran's use of the death penalty.

Slovakia: Biggest Protests In Decades After Death Of Investigative Journalist
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Tens of thousands of Slovaks rallied in antigovernment protests to demand an investigation into the killings of a journalist and his fiancee and to call for an end to corruption in the EU and NATO country.

Slovak media estimated that some 40,000 protesters gathered in the capital, Bratislava, on March 9, the largest demonstrations since the 1989 Velvet Revolution that brought down communism in then-Czechoslovakia.

Reporter Jan Kuciak and fiancee, Martina Kusnirova, both 27, were found shot dead in their home near Bratislava on February 25.

Police said the journalist's death was "most likely" related to an article he was writing on alleged links between top Slovak politicians and the Italian mafia. The article was published after his death.

On March 1, Slovak authorities released all seven Italian suspects detained in connection with the case because of lack of evidence.

On March 2, demonstrations took place across Slovakia to demand government action in the killings.

Protest organizers say they want foreign experts to help investigate the slayings.

They also seek establishment of "a new trustworthy government with no people who are suspected of corruption" or links to organized crime.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP

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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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