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Reporters Without Borders Urges Iran to Halt Crackdown on Women Internet Reporters

A Paris-based media rights group is calling on Iran's government to stop its crackdown against women rights activists, after it recently convicted four female Internet reporters.

In a statement this week, Reporters Without Borders says the Internet is the only way for these feminists to demand their rights, and the women are suffering real harassment.

In March, three female activists were arrested and sentenced to six months in prison for "disturbing public order" after they took part in a 2007 demonstration protesting the treatment of women in Iran. The three -- Nasrin Afzali, Nahid Jafari and Marzieh Mortazi -- contribute to two feminist Web sites.

Earlier this month, Iran handed down a two-year suspended sentence to Internet editor Parvin Ardalan for her part in the protests.

Reporters Without Borders says Iran also regularly blocks feminist Web sites targeting Iranian women. The group is calling on the government to halt its systematic repression of cyber feminists.

Earlier this year, Ardalan won the Olaf Palme Award for her efforts to advance women's rights in Iran but was denied the right to leave the country to receive it.

Reporters Without Borders lists Iran as one of the world's most repressive countries towards Internet journalists, commonly known as "bloggers."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.