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Iran said to charge ex-soccer star for ‘leading’ protests

File: Iran's Ali Karimi in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)
File: Iran's Ali Karimi in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

Iran has charged former soccer star Ali Karimi in absentia for his support for protests over Mahsa Amini’s death in morality police custody, Iranian media reports.

A wave of unrest has rocked Iran since the 22-year-old Kurdish woman’s death was announced on September 16 after her arrest in Tehran for allegedly failing to observe the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.

The Iranian judiciary accuses the former Bayern Munich midfielder of being “a prominent leader the recent riots,” Mehr news agency says.

Karimi, who reportedly moved to the United Arab Emirates a few months ago, was accused of “spreading the voice of the enemy and encouraging” the protest movement, Mehr adds.

The 43-year-old former player and coach has repeatedly used Instagram, where he has more than 13 million followers, to support the protests and condemn Amini’s death, saying “nothing can wash away this disgrace.”

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