Aref, who was initially arrested in the aftermath of Iran’s disputed presidential elections in 2009, was also sentenced to 74 lashes for writing an “insulting” letter to Ahmadinejad and given a lifetime ban on working as a journalist or membership of any political parties.
His jail sentence came to an end on Sunday but, hours before his release from Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, Aref was told the lashing would be carried out.
A masked prison guard carried out the lashing in presence of Aref’s wife and officials from Iran’s judiciary. News of the lashing come only a few weeks after Somayeh Tohidlou, a female Iranian blogger and campaigner for former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, was sentenced to a “symbolic” lashing for the same crime.
Unlike Tohidlou’s symbolic punishment – designed to humiliate rather than harm – Aref was indeed whipped. Pictures taken after his release show his bloodied back covered in wounds.