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Iran: Imprisoned cartoonist forced to take ‘virginity test’

30 November 2015

Cartoonist Atena Farghadani, through a note leaked from prison, said she was forced to take a “virginity and pregnancy test” on 12 August 2015 prior to her trial on a charge of “illegitimate sexual relationship short of adultery” for shaking her lawyer’s hand when he visited her in prison, Amnesty …

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Saudi Arabia: Poet sentenced to death

23 November 2015

According to PEN International, Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh was sentenced to death on 17 November 2015 by a Saudi Arabian court for renouncing Islam. Fayadh, 35, told The Guardian: “I was really shocked but it was expected, though I didn’t do anything that deserves death.” In August 2013, Fayadh was …

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Egypt: Playwright speaks about his trials with censorship

23 November 2015

The arts magazine Guernica recently published an interview with Karim Alrawi, an Egyptian playwright and novelist. Though his literary career started in London, he returned to Egypt to teach in the theatre department at the American University in Cairo. During his time teaching at the American University, Alrawi also attempted …

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Morocco: Film actress attacked, humiliated and exiled

17 November 2015

The Moroccan actress Lubna Abidar who starred in the movie ‘Zin li fik’ (‘Much Loved’) has been violently attacked in Morocco and has consequently fled to France to seek asylum in a European country. Lubna Abidar was reported to have left her country on 8 November 2015, travelling to France, …

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Turkey: Blasphemy ruling reversed for pianist Say

12 November 2015

Pianist Fazıl Say may no longer face a ten-month jail sentence for blasphemy charges related to his tweets as Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the decision, saying his social media posts fall within the realm of freedom of expression, Hurriyet Daily News reported. The court ruled by majority – …

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Tunisia: Musicians confronted with censorship and repression

11 November 2015

Of Tunisia’s entire artistic community, the musicians – and in particular urban rappers – have borne the brunt of the state’s censorship and repression. A wide legal arsenal has been used to drag musicians into court and throw them unceremoniously into gaol. By Daniel Brown     ARTSFREEDOM | INSIGHT In …

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Iran: 26 popular singers banned from performing

5 November 2015

The Iranian Intelligence Ministry banned 26 popular musicians and singers from performing in Iran after their music was aired by networks abroad, IranWire reported, citing an investigative piece from Etemad newspaper published on 19 October 2015. The head of the music department at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance …

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Iran: Filmmaker sentenced to six-year prison term and 223 lashes

4 November 2015

On 13 October 2015, after nearly two years of hearings, the 30-year-old Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi was sentenced to six years in prison and 223 lashes. He was arrested on 14 December 2013 on charges of “insulting the sacred,” “propaganda against the regime,” and “illicit relations.” According to Karimi’s lawyer, Amir …

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Israel: The political legacy of muzzling artists

3 November 2015

In June 2015, Israeli artists made a collective roar against their government over its arts funding policy which bans dissident artists. Like everywhere else in the world, the government of Israel can choose which artists to support with public funding. It can ban, expel and censor artists, according to its …

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Turkey: Tensions between film festivals and government take toll

28 October 2015

The film festival circuit in Turkey has been among the most visible casualties as the increasingly authoritarian Justice and Development Party (AK-Party) fights to stay in power, reported the film magazine Variety. Simmering tensions between artists and the government came to a head at the Antalya film festival in October …

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