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Iran detains prisoners' rights advocate on national security charges

[JURIST] Emadeddin Baghi [personal website], founder of Iran's Society for Defending Prisoners' Rights [advocacy website], was arrested on charges of violating national security, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported Sunday. An unnamed government official told IRNA that Baghi and family members had participated in opposition meetings designed to overthrow Iran's Islamic regime. Specifically, Baghi has been charged with "spreading propaganda against the regime and publishing secret government documents." Baghi allegedly obtained confidential documents from prisoners and then made those documents available to the public.

Baghi, who has already been accused of mistreating inmates, was reportedly working "against national security under the cover of defending prisoners' rights." He was arrested in 2003 on different charges of violating national security, and already served two years of a three-year prison sentence. The third year of the sentence was suspended, but Baghi will now begin serving that term. Recently, Baghi has been publicly protesting hangings in Iran [JURIST report] and openly criticized heads of reformist parties for not reacting to the hangings. AP has more. AFP has additional coverage.

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