DUBAI: Iranian football legend Ali Karimi, known as the Asian Maradona and the Magician, has come under fire for his social media posts condemning the suspicious death of Mahsa Amini after being detained by Tehran’s morality police.
Karimi, former captain of Iran’s national football team, has capitalized on his wide social media following to voice support for demonstrations against the government after Amini’s death.
His critical comments have earned scorn and blame from politicians, and has been accused of being one of the leaders what they describe as “riots” and “sedition,” Radio Farda reported.
“Don’t be afraid of strong women. Maybe the day will come when they are your only army,” to football legend wrote on Twitter for his more than 450,000 followers.
The Dubai-based Karimi has nearly 12 million followers on Instagram, where he also extensively posts support for the protest actions as well as tips about safe virtual private networks for Iranians to use to bypass state Internet restrictions, which have intensified amid the protests.
Meanwhile, Iranian civil rights activist Hossein Ronaghi has claimed he was beaten by guards in Tehran’s Evin prison, in a report from Radio Farda.
Prison officers broke his leg during the beating, while Ronaghi’s mother said her son told her he had been injured by guards, journalist Masoud Kazemi posted in a tweet on September 25.
The arrest comes amid anti-government protests over the death of 22-year-old Amini after she was taken into custody by morality police for the alleged improper wearing of a hijab.