Iranian poets to recieve 99 lashes of cane for shaking hands with opposite sex

Iranian poets - fatemeh & mehdi
(L to R) Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Musavi

CNN reports that Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Musavi, two Iranian poets, are facing 99 lashes of cane each for shaking hands with people of the opposite sex.

This will be one of the latest examples of harsh punishments meted out against writers and artists by Iran’s judiciary, according to human rights advocates.

The two poets have also both been sentenced to years in prison for “insulting the sacred” in their writings. This decision has been slammed by freedom of expression activists.

Earlier this month, Karin Deutsch Karlekar, director of Free Expression Programs at PEN American Center, in a statement said: “Ekhtesari and Musavi’s arrests and convictions are a travesty of justice, and send a chill over the already beleaguered creative community in Iran.”

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