Iran arrests ex-footballer for backing protests
TEHRAN, SEPT 30: Iranian authorities on Friday arrested a former football player over his support for protests over the death in custody of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, state media reported.
A wave of unrest has rocked Iran since the 22-year-old died on September 16 after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly failing to observe the Islamic republic's strict dress code for women.
The street violence has led to the deaths of dozens of people -- mostly protesters but also members of the security forces -- and hundreds of arrests.
"Former Persepolis FC player Hossein Maahini was arrested by the order of the judicial authorities for supporting and encouraging riots on his social media pages," state news agency IRNA said.
On Thursday, Tehran provincial governor Mohsen Mansouri warned celebrities against coming out in support of the protests.
"We will take action against the celebrities who have fanned the flames of the riots," ISNA news agency quoted him as saying.
On Wednesday, Iran's Mehr news agency said former state television host Mahmoud Shahriari had been arrested for allegedly "encouraging riots and solidarity with the enemy".
A number of Iranian sportsmen as well as actors and filmmakers have put their support behind the movement, asking authorities to listen to the people's demands.
Iran's two-time Oscar winning director Asghar Farhadi on Sunday urged people around the world to "stand in solidarity" with the protesters.
At a football match against Senegal in Vienna on Tuesday, the entire Iranian team remained dressed in black during the anthems rather than exposing the national strip.
Days ago, Iran's judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei criticised celebrities, saying "those who became famous thanks to support from the system have joined the enemy when times were difficult." -AFP