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Journalist Sets Herself on Fire: 'Blame Russia'

Irina Slavina's home had been searched the day before

(Newser) - The editor of a Russian news website has died after setting herself on fire Friday outside a government office, a day after police searched her home. "I ask you to blame the Russian Federation for my death," Irina Slavina had posted on Facebook. Video from Nizhniy Novgorod, a... More »

Putin's Biggest Critic: 'Regime Has Absolutely Deteriorated'

Dissident Alexei Navalny gets out of jail after 50 days, starts swinging at Kremlin

(Newser) - The revolving door between Alexei Navalny and jail has swung open again, reports the AP , with the Kremlin opposition leader released after 50 days on the inside for two consecutive sentences for organizing unsanctioned protests. Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's most prominent foe, had been sentenced to 30 days for... More »

Vietnam Upholds 10-Year Jail Term for 'Mother Mushroom'

US condemns decision

(Newser) - A Vietnamese appeals court has upheld a blogger's 10-year prison sentence for Facebook posts alleged to be anti-state propaganda, her lawyer says. It was the second tough sentence imposed on dissidents in a week to draw a rebuke from the US government, the AP reports. The blogger, Nguyen Ngoc... More »

China's Most Famous Prisoner Dead at 61

Liu Xiaobo had been diagnosed with cancer, denied opportunity to seek treatment abroad

(Newser) - Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo has died at age 61, the AP reports. Liu, the country's most prominent political prisoner, was first put behind bars in 1989 in connection with the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests. His fourth and last prison sentence, for inciting subversion thanks... More »

After Jailed Nobel Laureate's Cancer, China Relents

Liu Xiaobo received medical parole after learning of late-stage liver cancer: lawyer

(Newser) - Jailed Nobel Peace laureate and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has been released on medical parole after being diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer, his lawyer said Monday. Liu was in stable condition at China Medical University's No. 1 Affiliated Hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang, lawyer Mo Shaoping told... More »

Blind Chinese Activist to Speak in NYC

Chen Guangcheng and mentor participating in event Thursday

(Newser) - Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese activist who was the focus of a nearly monthlong diplomatic standoff, has a speaking engagement in New York City this week. Chen will speak Thursday at the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan. His mentor, New York University law professor Jerome Cohen, also will participate... More »

Chen: China's Promises 'Just Empty Words'

Dissident recounts abuses he suffered under house arrest

(Newser) - Chen Guangcheng says he's being treated well enough at the hospital where he's recuperating , but that he doesn't trust the Chinese government to continue being so kind. In an interview with der Spiegel —which the paper says was plagued by a connection that cut out multiple... More »

Pope Slams 'Radical' Austrian Priests

The Lord doesn't approve of women priests, says Benedict

(Newser) - Pope Benedict has ripped into a dissident group of Austrian priests for questioning some church teachings and advocating for married and female priests. He accused the group—known as the Pfarrer Initiative—of "a desperate push to do something to change the church in accordance with one's own... More »

Israel, Iran Terrorists Are Killing Scientists: Officials

Mossad funding, training People’s Mujahedin of Iran, sources confirm

(Newser) - As Iran has long claimed, Israel is indeed behind the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, providing financing, training, and weapons to the Iranian terrorist group that carries out the attacks, US officials confirm to NBC News . Five Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed since 2007, reportedly by the People’s... More »

China Jails 2nd Writer for Subversion

Chen Xi was arrested last month after publishing his essays online

(Newser) - China handed yet another dissident yet another long sentence today: Chen Xi was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being charged with "incitement to subvert state power" following the online publication of 36 essays he had written. His wife called the verdict "utterly absurd," explaining that... More »

'Subversive' Chinese Writer Gets 9 Years in Prison

Chen Wei called for free speech, political reform

(Newser) - A Chinese writer has been hit with a nine-year jail sentence for "inciting subversion of state power" after he posted online essays demanding free speech and government reform, reports the BBC . The sentence follows a two-hour, closed-door trial that Chen Wei's wife called "a performance" whose outcome... More »

Supporters Send $840K for Ai Weiwei Tax Bill

But state paper accuses him of 'illegal fundraising'

(Newser) - Ai Weiwei has raised $840,000 toward his $2.4 million tax bill , thanks to nearly 20,000 people who have sent in donations to the Chinese artist and dissident. But Ai—who views the money received as loans, not donations—says he will repay it all, though, the Christian ... More »

Burma Releases 155 Political Prisoners

Prominent activist Zarganar among them

(Newser) - Burma today began releasing the 6,300 prisoners who will be granted amnesty, but so far the number of political detainees released does not come close to the estimated 2,000 who are in jail. The Telegraph puts the number of political prisoners released at 120, while the AP reports... More »

Vietnam Police Rough Up US Envoy

Diplomat attempted to visit pro-democracy dissident

(Newser) - The US has lodged a strong protest against Vietnam's treatment of an American diplomat who attempted to visit a prominent pro-democracy dissident. US officials say embassy political officer Christian Marchant was roughed up and had a car door repeatedly slammed on his legs when he tried to visit Thadeus Nguyen... More »

Egypt Frees Dissident Blogger After 4 Years

Kareem Amer criticized president, conservative Muslims

(Newser) - An Egyptian blogger jailed for criticizing conservative Muslims has been freed after 4 years behind bars. Kareem Amer, a 26-year-old law student and outspoken secularist, was convicted of "spreading information disruptive of public order and damaging to the country's reputation," CNN reports. Amer, who spent much of his... More »

Hey, Obama: Embrace the Dissidents

Obama risks repeating Gerald Ford's big mistake

(Newser) - How can Barack Obama give voice to the voiceless? With a simple photo op, writes William McGurn in the Wall Street Journal . Dissidents under “nasty” governments in China, Iran, Cuba, and elsewhere—thus far dissed by the White House—are wondering: “‘Where is the president of the... More »

Reports: Iran Fires on Protesters, Kills 4

Strife in Tehran is most heated since June protests

(Newser) - Iranian security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters in the capital today, killing at least four people and injuring two others in the fiercest clashes in months, opposition websites and witnesses said. Authorities had warned of a harsh crackdown should opposition supporters hold rallies coinciding with today's religious observances marking... More »

China Gives Dissident Liu 11 Years in Prison

Convicted of subversion after questioning Communist rule

(Newser) - A Chinese court sentenced prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo to 11 years in jail today on subversion charges after he called for sweeping political reforms and an end to Communist Party dominance. Liu sentencing comes despite international appeals for his release, which China sternly rejected as interference in its internal affairs. More »

Iranian Election Protester Sentenced to Death

Capital sentence is first since June crackdown

(Newser) - An Iranian political dissident has become the first person arrested during June's post-election protests to be sentenced to death. Muhammad-Reza Ali-Zamani is a member of the Kingom Assembly of Iran, which seeks to undo the Islamic revolution and restore the shah to power. News of the sentence, which was handed... More »

Suu Kyi Expects Guilty Verdict Friday

(Newser) - Aung San Suu Kyi learns Friday whether she will be found guilty of violating her house arrest, and the Burmese dissident expects the worst. “I’m afraid the verdict will be painfully obvious," she told diplomats in court today as her trial wrapped up. A conviction—she is... More »

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