First Published: 2009-12-11

 
Veiled Iran men seek release of student leader
 

Scores of young men posing in photos with hijabs on social networking websites, blogs call for Tavakoli's release.

 

Middle East Online

Cross dressing is penalised in Iran



TEHRAN - Iranian men wearing the Islamic headscarf, or hijab, have launched a cyber campaign to press for the release of a student activist who allegedly dressed as a woman to avoid arrest during a protest.

Iran's state news agency IRNA said Majid Tavakoli was arrested on Monday as he sought to leave Tehran's Amir Kabir university "disguised as a woman" after Student Day protests.

The agency carried a photo of Tavakoli in a blue head cover and black chador.

Amir Kabir News Letter, an opposition student website, dismissed the IRNA picture as "forged," quoting witnesses.

But the news triggered a campaign on popular social networking website Facebook and some blogs, with scores of young men posing in photos with colourful head scarves, flashing a victory sign and calling for Tavakoli's release.

Tavkoli is a leading activist who spent 15 months in jail along with two fellow students after being arrested in 2006 on charges of insulting religion and the country's leadership in student publications.

Every post-pubescent woman, regardless of her religion, must cover her hair and bodily contours in public in Iran, which has been under clerical rule for 30 years.

Authorities carry out frequent moral crackdowns on un-Islamic dressers in lax hijab and tight outerwear. Cross dressing is also penalised.

There have been repeated protests in Tehran following the June 12 reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which opposition candidates and their followers have claimed was massively rigged.

Fresh protests against Ahmadinejad erupted on December 7, when Iranians campuses mark an annual Student Day.

The election has bitterly divided Iran's political class and plunged the Islamic republic into one of its worst crises.

 

Egypt renews calls for creation of joint military force at Arab summit

Torturous Iran talks move into top gear in battle of wills

Qaeda seizes 'majority' of Syria northwestern city of Idlib

Saudi ambassador to return to Sweden after diplomatic spat

Oil prices fall after Yemen-inspired gains

Libya forces ‘withdraw’ from frontline bases near oil ports

UN Security Council keeps Libya arms embargo in place

Saudi-led airstrikes target arms depots in Yemen capital

Death toll from hotel attack rises as fighting continues in Somalia

Turkish parliament passes security bill after long debate

Turkey army chief of staff visits historic tomb inside Syria

Saudi-led coalition keeps up raids against Yemen rebels

Assad says open to dialogue with US

US backs Saudi-led intervention in Yemen

Heavy Saudi raids force Sanaa residents to flee

Israeli Arab MP walks for Bedouins

Gulf stocks regain ground after early losses over Yemen

Kerry presses Iran on nuclear deal before deadline

Somali pirates seize Iranian fishing vessel

Borse Dubai sells big stake in London Stock Exchange

Can Arabs form joint military force?

Libya rivals discuss UN-backed peace proposals

French President to join 'anti-terror' march in Tunis

Sisi underscores Egypt’s rights to tap Nile water

US-led coalition aircraft bomb Tikrit

Saudi warplanes strike Yemen rebels in Sanaa

Netanyahu to form Israel new government after shock victory

Turkey military responds to Kurdish attacks in southeast

Leaders see horror of air crash as investigators step up probe

Fistfight in Iraqi Kurdish parliament

Syria rebels seize ancient town of Busra Sham

UN reveals plethora of abuses against activists in Libya

IS attack kills 5 militia fighters in Libya city of Sirte

Yemen President ‘in safety’ as rebel forces advance

US considering launching air strikes on Tikrit

Yemen Huthis seizes key airbase near Aden

'Feminist' policy costing dear to Sweden

Obama says row with Netanyahu ‘substantive’

Tunisia honours victims of deadly attack on national museum

Roadside bomb kills two Egypt soldiers in restive Sinai

‘Islamic State’ woos Syria children with money: More than 400 recruited in 2015 alone

Huthi-led militia push on southern Yemen

US envoy to Libya leaves Twitter after barrage of online abuse

US provides 'eye in the sky' to support Iraq Tikrit operation

Turkey prosecutors launch probe as ruling party rift grows