Prominent student activist Majid Tavakoli has been given a furlough from jail for the first time since his arrest in December of 2009.

Majid Tavakoli

Majid Tavakoli

The Kaleme opposition website reports that he has been given a three-day furlough while only 20 days remain in his sentence.

The authorities may renew the furlough in view of how few days remain in his sentence.

Tavakoli was first held in Evin Prison and then transferred to Karaj Prison. His parents, who live in Shiraz, had few chances of visiting him.

Tavakoli, who was an aeronautics student at Tehran Polytechnic, was arrested for giving a speech in the university on Students’ Day.

After his arrest, photos were published showing him in hijab along with allegations that he had tried to escape the authorities by dressing as a woman. That statement by the authorities triggered an online campaign, with numerous Iranian men posting photos of themselves dressed in the Islamic hijab in solidarity with Tavakoli.

Tavakoli was sentenced to eight years in jail and a five-year ban from political activity and travelling abroad; the charges were “assembly and collusion against the regime”, “insulting the president and the leader” and “propaganda against the regime”.

Later, for publishing a letter from inside prison to mark Students’ Day, he received another six-month term on top of his first sentence.

During his incarceration, Tavakoli wrote several letters of protest and went on a number of hunger strikes to protest his situation.

His arrest in 2009 was his third for his student activism.