An imprisoned Iranian student who “insulted” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad received 74 lashes before being allowed to go free on Sunday after completing his 11-month sentence in prison.
The student, Peyman Aref, is majoring in political science at Tehran University. He was convicted on charges of spreading propaganda against the regime. Aref is not the first such student to be imprisoned in Iran.
But Aref told the British Guardian that the real reason he was punished had to do with a letter he wrote to the Iranian president, reminding him of “what he had done to the universities.” Aref said that as a sign of protest, he had refused to head the letter with the formal Islamic greeting of “Salam.”
According to the report, Aref was lashed with his wife present in the room.
Just after the young student was being released from prison, meanwhile, an Iranian actress was sentenced to a year's prison term and 90 lashes for her appearance in a film critical of the Iranian government.
Marzieh Vafamehr appeared in the film “My Tehran for Sale,” shot in the Iranian capital.
The Australian-produced movie tells the story of a young actress whose acting on stage has been banned by the government.
Directed by Iranian Australian director Granaz Moussavi, the film premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2009, but has been banned in Iran.
According to a report posted on the Kalameh.com website, the attorney for the actress has appealed the sentence.
Two years ago, Ahmadinejad violently crushed a protest movement against what demonstrators said was the president's bogus re-election in Iran, in a grassroots Green Movement uprising that was similar to that now sweeping the nation in Syria. In December 2009, dissidents were calling for the overthrow of the government; hundreds died in the government crackdown that followed, and thousands of others were wounded, imprisoned and "disappeared."