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Iran: Two poets sentenced to flogging and lengthy imprisonment

15 October 2015

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 …

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Pakistan: Increased censorship of Pakistani films

14 October 2015

‘Abdullah’ is the latest film flagged by Pakistan’s censor board, which has become more active of late, reported Sheharyar Rizwan for Dawn.com. Until recently, film censorship in Pakistan was mostly limited to Bollywood and Hollywood productions, one reason being there weren’t that many films being produced within Pakistan. But now, …

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Lebanon: Documentary film with Sahrawi artists banned

14 October 2015

The film ‘Life Is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara’ has been banned in Lebanon. All screenings at Beirut Film Fest have been cancelled. ‘Life Is Waiting’ is a new film by director Iara Lee, who asked Sahrawi activists and artists to give answers to questions such as: ‘What …

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Syria: Cartoonist killed under torture

13 October 2015

After two years of silence, it has reportedly now been confirmed that the Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan died in 2013 under torture in a detention centre, only a few months after his arrest. During two years, rumours have circulated about the death of the 35-year-old Syrian cartoonist. In September 2015, …

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Egypt: Resolution against revealing clothing and “vulgar” lyrics

30 September 2015

Egypt’s Musicians’ Union bans artists from wearing “indecent” clothing and using “vulgar” vocabulary on stage and television in a resolution passed at the end of August 2015. Hani Shaker, the newly elected head of the union, aims to continue to promote Egyptian art, but not at the expense of the …

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Syria: Fleeing civil war, piano player travels towards Germany

21 September 2015

AFP’s Rana Moussaoui and NBC News’ Jacob Rascon have published new reports of what further happened to 27-year-old piano player Aeham al-Ahmad, whose piano was burned by jihadists in April 2015 after his songs of hope amid the rubble of Syria’s largest Palestinian camp had become a social media sensation. …

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Iran: Imprisoned cartoonist possibly prosecuted over handshake

18 September 2015

Amnesty International reported that Atena Farghadani, 29, who was was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison after she depicted Iranian government officials as monkeys and goats in a satirical cartoon, may face a longer sentence amid claims over a handshake: her lawyer Mohammad Moghimi visited her in …

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Pakistan: Court dismisses petition to ban Indian films

17 September 2015

A Pakistani court today dismissed a petition seeking a permanent ban on release of Indian films in the country, days after the same court banned the screening of the Bollywood movie ‘Phantom’ on a petition by Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed. Read more: » Artsfreedom – 25 August …

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Turkey: Actor dismissed from theatre over criticism of government

17 September 2015

Actor Levent Üzümcü has been dismissed from the İstanbul City Theatre after he was recently referred to the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s disciplinary board over a series of statements and speeches he made criticising the government. Üzümcü announced the disciplinary board’s decision to fire him on his Twitter account, writing: “I …

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