Iranian poets and song-writers Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Moosavi have been sentenced to 11.5 and nine years in prison respectively, as well as 99 lashes each.
According to an interview with their lawyer on Radio Farda, both Ekhtesari and Moosavi were convicted of ‘insulting the holy sanctities’, for which they received seven and six year prison terms respectively.
Moosavi was also sentenced to three years in prison for ‘storing tear gas’ and Ekhtesari was sentenced to 18 months for spreading propaganda against the system, and to three years for allegedly publishing indecent images on the internet. Both were sentenced to 99 lashes for ‘illicit relations’.
PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee reported that the poets have the right to appeal and are currently still free.
“PEN’s delegates stand with their Iranian colleagues and are calling for these sentences to be overturned immediately,” said John Ralston Saul, PEN’s international president.
The two poets were arrested on 7 December 2013, shortly after they had been prevented from travelling to a literary workshop in Turkey. They were released on bail on 14 January 2014, after an international outcry.
Iranianuk.com reported that for a period of two months, Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Moosavi were interrogated and held in solitary confinement in Evin prison ward.
» PEN International – 14 October 2015:
PEN International delegates stand in solidarity with jailed Iranian poets at its 81st Congress in Quebec
» Iranianuk.com – 13 October 2015:
Heavy sentence of imprisonment and flogging for poets
» IFEX – 14 January 2014:
Poets and lyricists Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Moosavi arrested in Iran
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