Majid Tavakoli Arrested in Iran, Government Says in Women's Dress
Majid Tavakoli, the student activist in Iran who played a significant role in the Iranian elections in June, has been arrested by the government, who are claiming that he was dressed as a woman at the time.
See additional NowPublic coverage and the photos of Majid Tavakoli released by the government. The Fars News Agency published a report on Tuesday saying that Majid Tavakoli was disguised as a woman after speaking to a demonstration at the Amir Kabir University on Monday. The Fars News Agency is affliated with the Revolutionary Guards Corps. The Agency also published the photos and an image of Tavakoli addressing the crowd.
However, Human Rights Activists in Iran also published a report from an eyewitness saying:
“All the pictures published by the state media are false and a clear use of immoral means against student and civil activists in Iran.”
The human rights agency claim that Majid Tavakoli is being tortured now and that he was severly beaten when he was arrested.
Reports suggest that Majid Tavakoli was first taken to a detention center on Nejatollahi Street, where he was tortured by intelligence agents, who then took him to an unknown location. Intelligence agents have been trying to falsify the circumstances around Majid Tavakoli’s arrest. Eyewitnesses have denied all the news published by pro-Ahmadinejad media.
A prominent Iranian blogger, Mojtaba Samienejad has stated that Majid Tavakoli was forced to wear the women's clothing after he was arrested so that he could be photographed and shamed in public.
The Fars News Agency compared Tavakoli trying to flee dressed as a woman to the case of Abolhassan Bani-Sadr who dressed as a woman when he fled Tehran in 1981.
Iranian bloggers and student activists are striking out at the allegations. Omid Habibinia on Twitter asked readers to compare a picture of Tavakoli with a paraody of one posted on Facebook of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei photoshopped in to the picture:
According to the New York Times blog, the last entry on Majid Tavakoli's Facebook page on Saturday reads:
Only two more days [to Monday's demonstrations]. I have spent ten exhausting days on the road with more than 100 hours of driving and now I have to leave for Tehran. Looking at my mother’s tearful eyes and father’s anxious glances and despite all the difficulties only the true wish for freedom can maintain my drive and steadfastness. And so once again I welcome and accept all the dangers, standing next to my friends with whom I am honoured and proud to be on 16 Azar shoulder to shoulder we will shout against tyranny. For Freedom.