Reformist Student Leader Arrested in Iran
Iran's reformist student leader Ali Afshari was arrested Sunday by order of a revolutionary court, a judicial source said.
Afshari, the head of the Office to Consolidate Unity (OCU), Iran's largest pro-reform student group, was arrested for "insulting" supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in remarks he made November 26 at a Tehran university, the source said.
The arrest came just hours after leading Iranian dissident nationalist Ezatollah Sahabi was taken into custody on similar charges.
At the rally at Amir-Kabir University, Afshari called for a referendum on the Islamic Republic's foundation of "velayat-e-faghi," or religion before politics.
"The view that velayat-e-faghi is above the constitution must be put before a referendum," Afshari told more than 2,000 students gathered at the campus.
Afshari and Sahabi have also both been tried for attending a controversial seminar in Germany on the future of reform in Iran.
The April gathering has enraged Iran's conservatives by featuring speeches by Iranian opposition figures along with a bare-armed female dancer and a male stripper.
Appearing in court November 19, Afshari said the court had kept him from seeing his lawyer and demanded the presence of a jury.
He said the case was political-natured because at Berlin conference he had defended the regime.
The OCU helped organize students in July 1999 pro-reform protests that erupted into clashes with fundamentalist forces, the worst violence in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution -- TEHRAN (AFP)
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