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The latest from Freedom House:

The recent intimidation of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Khadija Ismailova was a striking reminder of the dire state of freedom of expression in Azerbaijan. On March 7, Ismailova received a letter threatening to ‘defame’ her unless she ‘behaved.’

Back in the 1980s, a Washington attorney named Paul Reichler generated some controversy when he signed on to represent the Sandinistas in various legal conflicts with the American government. Having led a successful guerrilla war against the longtime dictator, Anastasio Somoza, the Sandinistas had quickly moved to consolidate a system akin to a Marxist one-party state. From day one, the Sandinistas embraced an anti-Yankee rhetoric and committed themselves to the anti-imperialist struggle in the Americas. The United States responded by working to undermine Sandinista rule through, among other things, supporting the insurgent movement known as the contras.

Freedom House welcomes the release of four Turkish journalists on March 12, but cautions that Turkey must do more to address ongoing restrictions on freedom of expression. Ahmet Şık, Nedim Şener, Şait Çakır and Coşkun Musluk spent over a year in prison for their alleged involvement in a plot to overthrow the Turkish government – known as “Ergenekon.”

Freedom House condemns the Russian Justice Ministry’s refusal to grant registered NGO status to the Dutch organization Russian Justice Initiative. RJI is the leading organization representing victims of human rights abuses in Chechnya and elsewhere in the North Caucuses at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Freedom House condemns the recent attack on Vijesti daily newspaper writer Olivera Lakic, who was beaten by an unknown assailant outside of her apartment in Podgorica, Montenegro on March 7 – likely in retaliation for a series of articles she wrote alleging a local factory committed fraud.

Washington Post
by David J. Kramer
In her March 10 op-ed, “Why Egypt moved on the NGOs,” Fayza Aboulnaga, Egypt’s minister for planning and international cooperation, left out key facts and generally misrepresented the campaign she has been leading against civil society in that country. It is important to set the record straight.
Read the rest of the article here.

Freedom House remains strongly opposed to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s bid to reconsider the life sciences prize associated with Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, because of his government’s human rights abuses, and calls on the UNESCO Executive Board to permanently remove the prize from consideration.