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Iran: Two musicians and a filmmaker sentenced

29 February 2016

Branch 54 of the Tehran Appeals Court has issued their final judgment on Mehdi Rajabian, Hossein Rajabian and Yousef Emadi, sentencing each of the three artists to three years in prison, three years probation and a 200 million rial (about  USD 6,600) fine, reported the Human Rights Activists News Agency on 29 February 2016. …

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Iran: Two poets flee due to censorship and imprisonment

25 February 2016

Iranian poets and song-writers Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Moosavi, who were sentenced to 11.5 and nine years in prison respectively, and 99 lashes each, have fled their native Iran some time in February 2016 while their cases were still pending, reported Huffington Post. In an interview with Radio Free Europe …

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Iran: Actress attacked at film screening

24 February 2016

Fatemeh Motamed-Aria, one of Iran’s most famous actresses, was attacked by religious hardliners at a screening of her movie ‘Yahya Did Not Stay Silent’ on 29 January 2016, according to The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. The actress joined the director and cast of the movie in Kashan, …

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Five more countries ban ‘The Danish Girl’

24 February 2016

As of 1 February 2016, five more countries have followed suit with Qatar and banned screenings of Tom Hooper’s transgender film ‘The Danish Girl’. Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and United Arab Emirates failed to pass local censor requirements over “moral depravity” and that it “promoted homosexuality and gender transformation”. Sources » Gay …

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Egypt: Author imprisoned for ‘violating public modesty’

23 February 2016

On 20 February 2016, the Egyptian author Ahmed Naji was sentenced to two years in prison by a Cairo appeals court for having published in a magazine a sexually explicit excerpt of his novel that prosecutors said “violated public modesty”.  Naji (also spelled: Naje) was initially acquitted, but after the …

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Egypt: Mahraganat artists challenge limits

23 February 2016

For many youngsters in Egypt, mahraganat artists represent the voice of the people. They address social issues, relationships and drug problems. They operate in a landscape of recognition, occasional public and self-censorship and the consequences of the newly suggested committee for “the development of morals and conscience and the promotion …

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Iraq: Boy beheaded for listening to Western music

22 February 2016

According to ARA News, Islamic State militants publicly executed a 15-year-old boy in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on 16 February 2016 for listening to “Western music”. A spokesman for the Ninevah media centre told the news outlet that the boy, Ayham Hussein, was caught listening to pop music …

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Egypt: Cairo’s Townhouse Gallery to reopen under strict restrictions

17 February 2016

Cairo’s Townhouse Gallery has reopened for two weeks to allow staff to make necessary changes to various permits and regulations  after having been closed for two months by Egyptian authorities for what they listed as “administrative irregularities”, reported Ahram Online on 16 February 2016.  Gallery director William Wells is seeking to …

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