TEHRAN (BNO NEWS) — An Iranian student activist was lashed 74 times on Sunday for insulting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, The Guardian newspaper reported.
Peyman Aref, a student of political science at Tehran University, was lashed before being released from Tehran’s Evin prison on Sunday. The lashing was carried out in the presence of Aref’s wife and officials from Iran’s judiciary.
Aref was sentenced in March 2010 to a year in jail after being found guilty of propaganda against the regime for speaking to foreign media. He also received the lashing sentence for writing an “insulting” letter to Ahmadinejad and was prohibited for life from working as a journalist, according to the news report.
Speaking to the website Rahesabz, Aref said after his release: “Whenever Ahmadinejad goes to New York [for UN general assembly], he boasts that Iran is the world’s freest country but I was brutally flogged in my country for insulting him.” He added: “[My crime] was that I wrote an open letter to Ahmadinejad and reminded him of what he did to the universities.”
In the letter to the president during his 2009 election campaign, Aref attacked Ahmadinejad for his crackdown on politically active students. Authorities apparently were offended after Aref refused to begin his letter with the formal greeting “Salam” as a sign of protest.
The lashing incident comes only a few weeks after Somayeh Tohidlou, a female Iranian blogger and campaigner for former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, was sentenced to a “symbolic” lashing for the same crime.
Copyright 2012 Dominica News Online, DURAVISION INC. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.