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.

 

New US law could sanction Hezbollah officials

ISIS-rebel clashes grip northeast Syria town

Hundreds of civilians flee Fallujah area in Iraq

Khamenei urges Iran lawmakers to resist Western 'schemes'

Turkey Muslims demand right to pray at Hagia Sophia

Iran delegation leaves Saudi Arabia without Hajj deal

Thousands of protesters gather in central Bagdad

99 lashes for partying Iranian students

100,000 Syrians trapped after shock IS advance in Aleppo

Iran sticking to nuclear deal: UN watchdog

Turkey party seeks constitutional change to boost president's powers

Turkey accuses US of 'hypocrisy' on Kurdish militia in Syria

Israel environment minister resigns from 'extremist government'

US-led coalition pounds IS near Raqa

Tunisia mulls allowing women to serve in army

US-backed fighters battle IS near Syria stronghold

Tunisia tourism sees 'slight recovery'

UN envoy calls for economic rescue plan for Yemen

Bahrain jails 19 for attacks on police

Up to 30 dead in shipwreck off Libya

UN says Syrians will 'starve' unless aid improves

Christian homes set ablaze in Egyptian village 'love story'

Kuwait's main opposition group ends polls boycott

Twin offensives on IS edge forward in Syria, Iraq

Private firms to help in hunt for Egyptair black boxes

New Israeli defence minister's tough talk to be put to the test

Syria most dangerous place for health workers

Concern for civilians trapped in Iraq's Fallujah

Brent rises past $50 a barrel

Iraq PM urges protesters to stay home

Juncker warns Ankara against migrant deal threats

Israeli air force carries out strikes on Hamas sites in Gaza

Annual Jewish pilgrimage starts in Tunisia

Sudan accuses UN official of 'false' reports on displaced

Egypt quashes prison sentences for 47 protesters

At least 5 drown off Libya coast

Coalition airstrike kills six Yemen civilians 'by mistake'

Erdogan chairs first meeting of new Turkey cabinet

Pope prays to 'convert hearts' of ISIS extremists

Egypt expels French journalist amid crackdown on media

Israeli rights group gives up on army complaints system

Hamas-led council backs executions without Abbas approval

Netanyahu forms ultra-nationalist Israel government

Major assaults target IS jihadists in Iraq, Syria

Yemen warring parties 'closer' to agreement