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Iranian poets sentenced to 99 lashes for handshakes with members of opposite sex (The Tower via the Daily Tip)

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Oct. 28, 2015

The Iranian government has jailed two prominent poets and sentenced them to 99 lashes each “for shaking hands with members of the opposite sex,” the Associated Press reported Tuesday. Both poets have previously published poetry that was approved by government censors.

The crackdown against the poets is the latest in a pattern of worsening repression in Iran. The AP noted that at least 30 journalists were imprisoned in Iran at the end of 2014. One of them is Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who was convicted of espionage in a widely criticized secret trial.

Despite President Hassan Rouhani’s reputation as a moderate, the human rights situation in Iran has deteriorated under his administration. According to the United Nations, over 750 people were executed in Iran during Rouhani’s first full year in office, the highest total in over a decade. Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed concern over the rapid rate of executions in Iran. In July, Amnesty International projected that the Islamic Republic would carry out over 1,000 executions this year.

In Should the U.S. Take Iran’s Human Rights Problem More Seriously?, which was published in the April 2015 issue of The Tower Magazine, senior editor Ben Cohen interviewed Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran. Shaheed mentioned that institutionalized discrimination against Iranian women was worsening under Rouhani. (via TheTower.org)

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