Iranian security forces have arrested a Kurdish bodybuilder who has expressed support for the ongoing nationwide protests, IranWire reports.
Armed forces raided Aso Yari's house in the mainly Kurdish city of Javanrud on January 4 and transferred him to an unknown location.
Yari is a bodybuilding champion from Javanrud in the western province of Kermanshah. He has refused to join the national bodybuilding team for a competition in Spain to protest the bloody state on the demonstrations that have rocked Iran for more than three months.
A growing number of athletes and other public figures have voiced support for the protest movement against Iran’s clerical rulers. The Islamic Republic has accused these celebrities of "fanning the flames of the riots" and jailed a number of them.
Security forces have killed more than 500 people, including dozens of children, and detained over 18,000 in their crackdown on the protests, human rights activists say. At least 100 protesters are currently at risk of “execution, death penalty charges or sentences,” according to one rights group.
The demonstrations and state clampdown have been particularly intense in the country’s western Kurdish areas and Sistan and Baluchistan, an impoverished southeastern province that is home to Iran's Baluch minority of up to 2 million people.