Iran: Artist awaits appeal of five-year prison sentence

Iranian artist and painter Shahriar Siroos is awaiting a judgment on his appeal over his five-year prison sentence handed down by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in September 2016 on charges of establishing a group to “perturb the security of the country” related to him teaching art classes at his home, reported International Campaign […]

Iran: Musician sentenced to five years in prison and 74 lashes

On 5 November 2016, Iranian singer Amir Tataloo (real name: Amirhossein Maghsoodloo) was sentenced to five years in prison and 74 lashes after being found guilty of “spreading Western immorality”, reported Al Bawaba on 6 November 2016. The singer’s original sentence was for ten years and 74 lashes, but the time term was reduced in […]

Morocco: Writer fined, sentenced for defamation over characters in novel

The trial court in the central Moroccan province of Ouarzazate sentenced writer Aziz Benhadouch on 2 August 2016 to a two-month suspended prison sentence, levied a 1,000 Dirham (approx. USD $100) fine and ordered he pay 20,000 Dirhams (approx. USD $2,035) in compensation to plaintiffs over his 2014 novel ‘The Island of Males’, reported rights […]

Saint Kitts and Nevis: US rapper arrested, fined for profane lyrics

Local police in the Caribbean island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis arrested US rapper 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson) on 25 June 2016 for using “indecent language” onstage during one of his songs. The rapper later pleaded guilty to the offence, paid a fine of USD $1,100 and was released, reported Rolling Stone […]

Russia: Artist convicted to 16 months in prison for vandalism

A Moscow court found Russian dissident artist Pyotr Pavlensky guilty of vandalism, Dimitri Kozlov of the Associated Press reported on 19 May 2016. The artist was convicted for setting fire to car tires on Saint Petersburg’s Tripartite Bridge during a pro-Ukraine performance, titled ‘Freedom’, in February 2014. While the court sentenced Pavlensky to 16 months […]

Myanmar/Burma: Poet sentenced to six months in prison for defamation

Poet Maung Saung Kha was sentenced on 24 May 2016 to six months in prison for defaming former president Thein Sein in a poem he posted on his Facebook page in October 2015, reported PEN International on 25 May 2016. The poet was arrested on 5 November 2015, charged for online defamation under the country’s Telecommunications […]

Japan: Artist fined for breaking the country’s obscenity law

On 9 May 2016, a Tokyo district court found the Japanese artist Rokudenashiko (real name: Megumi Igarashi) guilty of breaking the country’s obscenity laws because she produced a kayak modelled on her vagina, reported The Guardian and BBC. She was fined 400,000 yen (US$3,700). In court appearances, Igarashi insisted her artworks were not obscene. “I […]

Angola: Rapper Luaty Beirão sentenced to over five years in prison

On 28 March 2016, the prominent Angolan rapper Luaty Beirão was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for planning a rebellion against President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, reported several news sources. 34-year-old Luaty Beirão was sentenced to 5.5 years for “rebellion against the president of the republic, criminal association and falsifying documents” by the Luanda […]

Iran: Two musicians and a filmmaker sentenced

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. According to a source of […]

Iran: Filmmaker loses appeal, receives reduced prison sentence and lashes

An Iranian appeals court sentenced filmmaker Keywan Karimi to one year in prison, 223 lashes and a fine for “shaking hands with women and drinking alcoholic drinks”, Reuters reported on 22 February 2016. In an interview with The Times of India published on 23 February 2016, Karimi said he would serve out the sentence and […]

Saudi Arabia: Poet’s death sentence changed to imprisonment and lashing

According to PEN International, a Saudi Arabian court changed the sentencing for Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh from a death sentence to an eight-year prison term and 800 lashes on 2 February 2016. In November 2015, Fayadh was sentenced to death for renouncing Islam; however, after his lawyer argued that the poet was denied a fair […]

Egypt: Film producer sentenced to jail and fined for “indecency”

On 11 January 2016 the Dokki Misdemeanors court in Giza ruled against film producer Rana Al Subki for promoting and releasing “racy” images in one of her recent films, sentencing her to one year in prison and fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds (about USD 1,275), reported Al Rai Press. Attorney Samir Sabri filed a claim against […]

Saudi Arabia: Poet sentenced to death

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 detained and released on bail […]

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

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 Raeesian, most of the charges […]

Iran: Two poets sentenced to flogging and lengthy imprisonment

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 received seven and six […]

Russia: Film director sentenced 20 years in prison

A Russian court has sentenced the acclaimed Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov to 20 years in a maximum-security prison on multiple terrorism charges. The 39-year-old director denied all charges against him, saying they were politically motivated, and told the court on 19 August 2015 that a “trial by occupiers cannot be fair by definition”. Heather […]

Egypt: One year imprisonment for music video

The Agouza Misdemeanour Court sentenced Sunday the dancer Salma Al-Foly, the director Wael El-Sedik and an assistant to one year in prison for a low-cost production homemade video which they posted on El-Sedik’s private YouTube channel on 18 May 2015. The video has since been viewed over 1.5 million times. Singer and dancer Salma Al-Foly […]

Iran: Cartoonist convicted several years in prison for her art

Iranian designer and cartoonist Atena Farghadani could face years in prison for having drawn an image depicting members of the Iranian parliament as monkeys and cows. On 19 May 2015, she was convicted to 12 years imprisonment (some sources say 14 years). She has appealed the verdict. Cartoonists around the world have been drawing in […]

France: Controversial comedian sentenced for Facebook post

A French court has handed out a two-month suspended prison sentence to prominent comedian and political activist Dieudonne M’bala M’bala. He was found guilty for a Facebook message that suggested sympathy with one of the gunmen in the deadly Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. The 49-year-old comedian was convicted for being “an apologist for terrorism” […]

Thailand: Actors prosecuted for political play

On 23 February 2015, two members of a now-defunct theatre group Prakai Fai (‘Sparking Fire’) have been sentenced to two and half years in prison under the draconian Article 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code. Pornthip Mankong aka Golf, 26, and Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, performed in a political play called Jao Sao Maa Paa (‘Wolf’s bride’). […]

Turkey: Broadcasters fined for airing music video scenes of sexuality

The Turkish Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) has fined two music tv channels for airing music videos with scenes of sexuality, reported Hurriyet Daily News. RTÜK fined Genç TV for broadcasting the music video of Elliphant’s song ‘One More’, which features a scene of two women kissing. RTÜK also fined Power TV for […]

China: Tibetan folk singer sentenced to two and a half years in prison

On 27 November 2014, the Intermediate People’s Court in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, sentenced the well-known folk singer and music producer Pema Rigzin to two and a half years in prison and a fine of 50,000 yuan (US$ 8,130) for composing, releasing, and distributing music with alleged political overtones. Pema Rigzin, 44, was detained on 7 […]

China: Tibetan singer sentenced to four years in prison

The popular Tibetan singer Kalsang Yarphel has been given a four year imprisonment verdict for belting out songs calling on Tibetans to speak their own language and to forge unity among themselves. Kalsang Yarphel, 39, was sentenced by a court in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, where he had been held since being detained […]

Pakistan: 26 years prison verdict for playing religious song while staging mock marriage

The editor-in-chief of Geo TV, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, actor Veena Malik, her husband Asad Bashir Khan and tv-host Dr Shaista Lodhi Wahidi have been sentenced to 26 years in prison for an allegedly blasphemous tv-programme with a religious song, reported The Hindu, The News and Rural Media Network Pakistan. Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman (sometimes also spelled: Mir Shakeel […]

Morocco: Rapper sentenced to four months in prison

The Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghaoute – also known as Lhaqed or El Haqed – has been sentenced to four months in prison. He is furthermore to pay a fine of 1,350 euros to the two police officers he was accused of attacking. An accusation of selling tickets in the black market was removed. The verdict […]

Egypt: Poet Omar Hazek imprisoned

A two-year prison sentence was handed down to Egyptian poet Omar Hazek, who has been held in custody since his arrest in early December 2013 for taking part in a protest. Omar Hazek was held in Hadra prison in Alexandria until 21 February 2014 when he was moved to Burj Al-Arab prison also in Alexandria, […]

Turkey: TV watchdog fines Turkey’s ‘Desperate Housewives’ over sexual innuendo

Turkey’s television watchdog, RTÜK, has fined the Turkish version of the Desperate Housewives series over an innuendo associating dessert with sex. One of the main female characters in the serial touched her husband in a recent episode while saying, “We will have dessert after dinner,” which disturbed the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), which moved […]

China: Tibetan writer sentenced to five years in prison

Topden, a 30-year-old nomad and a writer who writes under the pseudonym Dro Ghang Gah was arrested on 28 October 2013 and sentenced to five years in prison on 30 November 2013, reported the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. Allegedly Topden was imprisoned for “keeping contacts with Dalai clique and for engaging in […]

Qatar: Poet’s 15 year prison sentence upheld

Qatar’s Supreme Court last month upheld a 15-year prison sentence handed to poet Mohammed Al-Ajami for reciting a poem in support of the Arab uprisings on Youtube. The was reported by The Art Newspaper on 7 November 2013. Al-Ajami, 37, a married father of four children, was a third-year literature student at Cairo University when […]

Tunisia: Rapper sentenced to six months in prison

Tunisian rapper Klay BBJ has been sentenced to six months in prison for insulting the authorities in his songs, reported several news agencies on 26 September 2013. That is 15 months less than the sentence he was first given in August 2013. Klay BBJ (real name: Ahmed Ben Ahmed) lost his appeal case after he […]

Tunisia: Rapper Weld El 15 set free with a reduced sentence

An agreement was reached to “end the prosecution of Weld El 15 in return for an apology to security officials,” according to National Union of Professional Tunisian Singers. Instead of the two-year prison sentence handed down on 13 June 2013 for his song ‘Boulicia Kleb’, the 25-year-old artist (real name Ala Yaacoub) received a six-month […]

Tunisia: Rapper sentenced to two years imprisonment, violence in court

On 13 June 2013, the Tunisian rapper Weld El 15 was (again) sentenced to two years in prison for insulting the police in a song. Weld El 15, who had previously been in hiding, turned himself in and was immediately taken into custody. Cries were raised in the court room when the verdict was announced. […]

China: Two Tibetan singers sentenced to two years in prison

Two Tibetan singers, Pema Trinley, 22, and Chakdor, 32, who were detained in 2012 for releasing a music album titled ‘Agony of Unhealed Wounds’ are reported by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy to have been secretly sentenced to two years in prison. The two singers come from a nomadic village called Meuruma. […]

Egypt: Author sentenced to five years in prison for insulting religion

Egyptian author and human rights activist Karam Saber has been sentenced to five years in prison, after a court found his writings to have insulted religion, reported the Egyptian news website Aswat Masriya. The complaint against Karam Saber and his book ‘Ayn Allah’ (‘Where Is God?’) was initially filed in 2011, shortly after the fall […]

Turkey: Pianist Fazil Say sentenced for Twitter posts

World-renowned Turkish pianist Fazil Say was given a 10 month suspended jail sentence for blasphemy by the 19th Criminal Court in Istanbul on April 15 2013 after retweeting an ancient poem on Twitter. Fazil Say, 42, was found guilty of violating Article 216 (3) of the Turkish Criminal Code, which prohibits  the ‘denigration of the […]

Qatar: Poet’s life sentence reduced

On 25 February 2013, poet Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami’s life sentence for a critical poem was reduced to 15 years. A final ruling by the Supreme Court is expected within 30 days, reported PEN International. The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International considers Al-Ajami to be convicted in violation of his right to freedom […]

Cuba: Writer sentenced to five years in prison

Writer and blogger Ángel Santiesteban Prats has been sentenced to five years in prison for alleged trespassing and assault on the basis of an apparently flawed trial, wrote The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International on 22 February 2013. Ángel Santiesteban Prats is an award-winning writer and author of the blog ‘The Children Who […]

Cameroon: Seven-year prison sentence confirmed for writer

On 8 January 2013 it was announced that writer Enoh Meyomesse is to be honoured with an Oxfam Novib / PEN Freedom of Expression Award. More than a year after his arrest, he was sentenced to seven years in prison on 27 December 2012. The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International believes Meyomesse’s detention, […]

Qatar: Poet Al-Ajami sentenced to life in prison

A Qatari court’s life sentence for the poet Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb Al-Ajami after a grossly unfair trial on 29 November 2012 “flagrantly violates the right to free expression”, Human Rights Watch said on 4 December 2012. AMY GOODMAN, journalist, Democracy Now: “So, if someone read Mohammad’s poem today in Qatar out loud, they too would […]

Vietnam: Two musicians sentenced to four and six years in prison

A Vietnamese court convicted two renowned musicians to four and six years imprisonment for anti-state propaganda and links to a banned political group, one of their lawyers said on 30 October 2012. Viet Khang, 34, (real name: Vo Minh Tri) was given a four-year prison term while Hoang Nhat Thong, 37, (real name: Tran Vu […]

Pussy Riot found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison

On 17 August 2012, the three members of the punk collective Pussy Riot received guilty verdicts and were each sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. According to the judge, they had “deeply insulted the faith of believers with their disrespectful criminal act and that the punk protest was blasphemous against the orthodox church.” When the heavy […]

Morocco: Rapper El Haked’s sentence upheld in court of appeal

On 27 July 2012, the Casablanca court of appeal upheld the one year prison sentence given to rapper El Haked in May. The court confirmed that his police-critical song circulating on Youtube together with a ridiculing photo-montage was ‘detrimental to public servants’.  24-year-old rapper Mouad Belghouate, known as El Haked

Sudan: Reported death sentence against poet

Sudanese poet Abdelmoniem Rahma was reportedly tried in a military court in November and there have been alarming reports that he has since been sentenced to death. It is unclear, however, on what charges he has been convicted. He has been denied access to a lawyer and his family do not know his whereabouts. There are […]

One year prison sentence for Morrocan rapper who criticised police

The sentencing of a rapper on 11 May 2012 to one year in prison for “insulting the police” shows the gap between the strong free-expression language in Morocco’s 2011 constitution and the continuing intolerance for those who criticise state institutions, Human Rights Watch stated. Statement and report from Rabat by Human Rights Watch The sentence […]

Tunisia: Owner of tv-station fined for airing film which depicts Allah

On 7 October 2011, the Iranian film ‘Persepolis’ was shown on the Tunisian private television station Nessma TV. The film includes a scene depicting Allah, whose portrayal is forbidden by Islam. On 3 May 2012, the owner of Nessma TV was fined US$ 1,700 for the airing of the film. On 8 October 2011, a […]

Egyptian court upholds comic actor’s prison sentence

A court in Egypt has upheld the three-month prison sentence given to leading comic actor Adel Imam for insulting Islam in his films and plays, reported BBC News on 25 April 2012. 71-year-old actor Adel Imam was also fined 170 US dollars by the court in the capital, Cairo. The case brought against Adel Imam […]

 

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