Four bloggers imprisoned in Iran

A Tehran court has passed (via) six-month prison sentences on four female bloggers. The women were found guilty under article 500 of the Islamic criminal code, under which “anyone who undertakes any form of propaganda against the state will be sentenced to between three months and one year in prison.”

The four women were charged for articles that appeared in two online newspapers that defend women’s rights in Iran, Zanestan and Tagir Bary Barbary.

Iran proposes death penalty for bloggers

A draft law which proposes to apply the death penalty to bloggers and website editors who ‘promote corruption, prostitution or apostasy’ has passed (via) its first reading by the Iranian parliament. According to article 3 of the bill, judges will be able to decide whether the person found guilty of these crimes is a ‘mohareb’ (enemy of God) or a ‘corrupter on earth’. Article 190 of the criminal code stipulates that these crimes are punishable by ‘hanging’ or by ‘amputation of the right hand and left foot’.

Muslim countries abandon reality, demand censorship

Demonstrating a disconnection from reality that only the religious can achieve, several Islamic countries - including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia - are demanding (via) that the Dutch government prosecute Geert Wilders on the basis that his film, Fitna, on the basis that it somehow violates their human rights.

According to Omar Shalaby, the delegate from Egypt (last election, political prisoners), the decision by The Hague District Court last week, which said the lawmakers right to free speech and role as a politician allow him to freely voice his criticisms of radical Islam and the Koran:

This ruling may suggest that the judiciary is out of touch with the relevant international and regional obligations and jurisprudence in the field of human rights.

It is probably a lot more accurate to say that Shalaby, and the rest of these Islamic delegates who have done so much to undermine the U.N. Human Rights Council, are out of touch with the meaning of the phrase human rights.

Iran, whose president recently attempted to cast doubt on whether the September 11th attacks actually happened, claimed that the film is vivid example of Islamophobia and incitement to religious hatred, and demanded that the Netherlands change their laws to give special protection to Islam.

Back in the real world, the Dutch embassy in Pakistan has been temporarily relocated because of security worries. Officials are looking at how to tighten security around the vacated embassy building so that staff can return.

Iranians demand film ban

And while were on the subject of Iran, guest which idiots have risen to the bait of Geert Wilders - so far unscreened - Muslim baiting movie. Yep, the Iranian justice minister, Gholam Hussein Elham, has written to his Dutch counterpart, Ernst Hirsch Ballin demanding that the film be banned.

The government has refused to intervene in Wilders antics as the issue is one of freedom of expression.

Irans sense of proportion failure

Three people were arrested in Denmark last week for plotting to murder cartoonist Kurt Westergaard who drew one of the Muhammed cartoons way back in 2005. The Danish press responded, commendably, by reprinting the cartoons in order to demonstrate their commitment to free speech and refusal to be threatened into silence. Now Iran has decided to stir things up - and display their ignorance of how a free society works - by demanding an apology from Danish MPs.

The nine members of Denmarks foreign affairs committee were due to travel to Iran on Monday for a three-day trip focusing on human rights and the Islamic Republics nuclear programme. On Saturday, the Iranians demanded the MPs condemn the cartoon on their arrival in the country.

So the MPs cancelled their trip.

We are not the ones to apologise, said Villy Soevndal, the leader of Denmarks Socialist Peoples Party.

If anyone needs to apologise for freedom of speech, human rights, imprisonments, executions and lack of democracy, it is the Iranians.


Bangkok, Iran

I have previously mentioned that the Iranian authorities feel that they have the right to tell other countries film festivals what films they can and cant show. Now it appears that the Bangkok International Film Festival agrees with them (via).

The festival has withdrawn the animated film Persepolis - which won the Jury Prize at this years Cannes Film Festival.

According to festival director Chattan Kunjara na Ayudhya:

I was invited by the Iranian embassy to discuss the matter and we both came to mutual agreement that it would be beneficial to both countries if the film was not shown.

Its a good film, but there are other considerations.

Actually, there arent any other considerations. Either its a good film or it isnt and the opinion of a bunch of over-sensitive authoritarians has no bearing on that whatsoever.

Iran comes up with another definition of Islamophobia

Iran has criticised the British government for its decision to give a knighthood to author Salman Rushdie.

Apparently, they feel that it is Islamophobic for the British government to award an honour to a British citizen without checking with the Iranians first.

Ayatollahs angry over Cannes prize

Given that the Iranian authorities were pretty miffed that animated drama Persepolis, which is based on a comic by Marjane Satrapi, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival, you might be wondering whether they were less than happy at the film winning the Jury Prize.

You bet they were.

Not only have they objected to the film getting an award, but have gone on to make the rather bizarre claim that: Islamophobia in Western drama started in France, and producing and highlighting the anti-Iranian film Persepolis in Cannes falls in line with Islamophobia. Which rather neatly equates any discussion of Iran with this years favourite phobia meme.

Iran irate over Cannes cartoon

According to Stop Fundamentalism (via) the Iranian authorities have sent a letter of protest to the French Embassy in Tehran complaining that the Cannes Film Festival had the temerity to screen an Iranian film.

The animated drama Persepolis is based on a comic by Marjane Satrapi and tells the coming-of-age story of a precocious and outspoken young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic Revolution.

The letter sent by the state-run Farabi Foundation in Iran reads, This year the Cannes Film Festival, in an unconventional and unsuitable act, has chosen a movie about Iran that has presented an unrealistic face of the achievements and results of the glorious Islamic Revolution in some of its parts.

The film is in competition for the Palme dOr and due to be screened on Wednesday.

Iran to execute pornographers

ADN Kronos International (via) reports that the culture committee of the Iranian parliament approved on Monday a bill sentencing to death producers of pornography - defined as films and videos deemed vulgar by the countrys censors. The draft law will now go to parliament where it is expected to be approved by an ample majority.

The Iranian porn market has tolerated for a long time - with amateur films fetching up to €30 - but became a nationwide issue earlier this year after a porn film of popular television actress, Zohre Mir Ebrahimi, having sex with her partner was released.