Iranian president criticizes student's flogging

TEHRAN, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday he disapproved of the flogging of a student convicted of insulting him, saying it was unfair given that even senior officials had criticized him publicly before.
Student activist Peyman Aref received 74 lashes on Sunday before leaving prison at the end of his one-year jail sentence, according to the opposition Kaleme website.
"Even high-profile officials insult the government freely, so I disapprove that a young person be flogged for insulting me," the official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
Aref was convicted of insulting the president after writing an open letter to him, opposition websites said.
Iranian protesters took to the streets following Ahmadinejad's re-election in June 2009 -- the biggest street unrest in the country since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
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