2 Iranian poets, facing lashings and prison, escape country

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Two Iranian poets who face lashings and prison sentences have fled Iran, one of the writers said Monday, a rare escape for local artists and activists ensnared in an ongoing crackdown on expression in the country.

See Full Article

Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Mousavi's freedom came as world powers lifted sanctions on Iran over its contested nuclear program and as the country separately freed four Iranian-Americans in exchange for seven Iranians held in the U.S.

The poets' escape is a reminder that despite the growing detente with the West, hard-liners still exert control over much of life in the Islamic Republic.

Ekhtesari told The Associated Press on Monday that both she and Mousavi escaped from Iran in recent days and made it to another country. She declined to elaborate out of continuing concerns about their safety.

Ekhtesari faced an 11 1/2-year prison sentence, while Mousavi faced nine years on charges ranging from propaganda against the state to "insulting poetsanctities." Each was sentenced to 99 lashings. They likely were targeted because their work is known abroad. Both are self-described "postmodern Ghazal" poets who seek to revive the traditional Persian love sonnet by applying it to contemporary political and social issues.

Hard-liners in the police, judiciary and military view any rapprochement with the West as a threat to the Islamic Republic and a sign of moral decay. Rights groups and analysts say those targeted in the ongoing crackdown on expression in Iran also serve as pawns in the hard-liners' struggle with moderates ahead of February's parliamentary elections.

Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi faces six years in prison and up to 223 lashes over his films, which authorities also charged with "insulting sanctities." In June, a court handed cartoonist Atena Farghadani a 12-year, nine-month sentence.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 5 convicted in killing of Boris Nemtsov, outspoken Putin critic

    World News CBC News
    A court on Thursday convicted five men of murdering Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, but the late politician's allies said the investigation had been a coverup and that the people who had ordered his killing remained at large. Source
  • Alleged purse snatcher run down by woman

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Kelsey Litwin, Postmedia Network First posted: Thursday, June 29, 2017 10:11 AM EDT | Updated: Thursday, June 29, 2017 10:23 AM EDT Source
  • Vancouver bans pet shop sales of cats, dogs and rabbits

    Canada News CTV News
    Prospective pet owners in Vancouver won’t be able to buy a cat, dog or rabbit at their local pet shop after the city passed a motion banning their sale in retail stores. City Counc. Source
  • U.K. lawmakers face key vote on government's agenda

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- British lawmakers were set to vote Thursday on whether to approve the Conservative government's plans for a Brexit-dominated parliamentary session, in a test of Prime Minister Theresa May's shaky minority administration. In a sign of its weakened position after an election wiped out May's parliamentary majority, the government was forced into a concession hours before the vote. Source
  • Trump calls out 'crazy' MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, accusing her of having 'low IQ'

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump has ridiculed the looks and temperament of a female cable television host whose show he says he’s stopped watching. Trump has used a series of tweets to go after Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who’ve criticized Trump on their MSNBC show “Morning Joe. Source
  • Ex-Oilers tough guy Dave Semenko dies of cancer at 59

    Canada News CBC News
    Former Edmonton Oilers enforcer Dave Semenko, best known as Wayne Gretzky's bodyguard on the ice, has died of cancer, the NHL team announced Thursday morning. He was 59. The Winnipeg native had it all in the early 1980s, playing on the left side of the Oilers' top line with stars Jari Kurri and Gretzky and winning two Stanley Cups. Source
  • Woman shoots boyfriend dead in YouTube stunt gone wrong

    World News CBC News
    A Minnesota woman charged in the fatal shooting of her boyfriend told authorities it was a video stunt gone wrong. Monalisa Perez, of Halstad, Minn., was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Pedro Ruiz III. Source
  • 'It was ceremony': Indigenous group defends setting up teepee on Parliament Hill

    Canada News CBC News
    A grassroots group of Indigenous people and their supporters, who faced opposition from police as they tried to make their way onto the front lawn of Parliament Hill to conduct a days-long ceremony in Ottawa, say they would have been met with opposition if they had tried to go through official channels. Source
  • If Northern Ireland's 5 parties can't agree today, power could return to London

    World News CBC News
    Seventeen-year-olds AJ McMinn and Rachel Madden went to primary schools in Belfast just across the street from each other. One Protestant. One Catholic. Back then, they wouldn't even have crossed the road to speak to each other. Source
  • Liberals extend Canada’s ‘advise and assist’ mission in Iraq

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — The federal government says the Canadian military will remain in Iraq for at least two more years as part of an international coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the threat posed by the group, also known as Daesh, ISIL or ISIS, requires Canadian soldiers to remain in the region until at least March 2019. Source