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US report decries world crackdown on civil society

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Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 2:34 pm | Updated: 1:20 am, Thu May 23, 2013.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is warning of increased pressure on human rights activists from nations such as Iran, Russia and Venezuela.

Secretary of State John Kerry held a briefing on the report Friday. He mentioned the Boston Marathon bombing and said, quote, "people have the right to run in marathons."

It's the annual human rights report from the State Department. The report criticizes a host of new restrictions on advocacy groups including laws banning free speech, assembly and religion.

Even worse, it notes that human rights, political and labor leaders in more countries are facing harassment, arrest and even assassination.

The report singles out for criticism a series of new Russian laws that target groups receiving international funding and restrict "unauthorized protests" and Internet freedom.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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