Iran protests

Iran releases dissident after three months in prison: Brother

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Iranian authorities have released one of the country’s best known dissidents after he spent three months in jail as protests shook the country, his brother said.

Majid Tavakoli was released on bail from Tehran’s Evin prison after 89 days behind bars, his brother Mohsen wrote on Twitter late on Monday.

Tavakoli had been arrested shortly after the start of the anti-regime protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini who had been arrested by the morality police for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress rules for women.

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Iran has arrested prominent lawyers, actors, cultural figures, journalists and campaigners in a crackdown that according to the UN has seen at least 14,000 people detained.

“We are happy about this news, but our happiness will be complete when all the dear ones who are in prison are released,” said Mohsen Tavakoli, posting a picture of his brother outside jail clutching a bouquet of flowers.

Tavakoli has spent much of the last one and a half decades in and out of jail and became prominent as a student leader during the 2009 mass street protests over disputed presidential elections.

He is hugely respected by activists as one of the most astute and analytical rights campaigners remaining inside Iran.

In 2013 he won the Student Peace Prize, which is awarded every two years in Norway.

His release comes after Iranian authorities in late November released the prominent dissident Hossein Ronaghi who had also been arrested at the onset of the protests and had been on a two-month hunger strike.

Several prominent Iranian campaigners remain in jail including the lawyer Mostafa Nili who has defended high profile cases and was arrested in November.

The two Iranian journalists Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi who helped expose the case of Amini by respectively reporting from the hospital and her funeral, have been held since September.

The two women have now been moved from Evin prison to Qarchak prison outside the capital where conditions have regularly aroused concern among rights activists, their families announced at the weekend.

Meanwhile, authorities also at the weekend sparked new international concern by arresting one of the country’s best known actors Taraneh Alidoosti who had backed the protests and removed her headscarf in public.

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