Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Iranian poets sentenced to 99 lashes and imprisonment – Göteborgs-Posten

The Persian poets Fateme Ekhtesari and Mehdi Mousavi has been sentenced to eleven and a half and nine years in prison and ninety-nine lashes each by the Iranian State. As late as 2013 visited Fateme Ekhtesari Gothenburg poetry festival.

– I’m heartbroken, this is terrible, says Linn Hansen, artistic director of the Gothenburg poetry festival in Last night was told by mutual friends that the poets are imprisoned.

The judgment should, according to Hansen, have been issued on 22 June – that is, before the final trial – but shared then the two poets until now. Those convicted of blasphemy, offenses against the Islamic regime and immorality.

– Actually, it’s his literary activities they are convicted of. For that they would have been critical to the Iranian state in their texts, says Linn Hansen, who himself is a poet and translator of Fateme Ekhtesaris poems into Swedish.

Fateme Ekhtesari, born in 1986, as feminist activist who has regularly published critical poems online, many years supervised by the Iranian government. Together with the Mehdi Mousavi, she represents a new postmodern poetic direction. They are friends and have published texts in the same literary context.

In the spring of 2013 worked Linn Hansen and Fateme Ekhtesari together in Teheran with the translation of Fatemes works. Later that year she was invited to Gothenburg poetry festival where six Swedish poets translated the six Persian poets to the Swedish, poetry published in the Nordic cultural magazine critics. Fateme Ekhtesari emerged during the visit, also in Stockholm.

In December 2013 she was arrested and Mehdi Mousavi on flygpatsen when they would travel to Turkey, and was in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. Only after international pressure, including from the Writers’ Union and the Swedish PEN was released on bail. Since then they have been under surveillance and occasionally summoned for questioning.

Authorities have previously reacted negatively to Fateme Ekhtesari sought a football stadium dressed as a boy, only to be allowed to see the match Iran – South Korea. And to the Persian rapper Shahin Najafi, who lives in exile in Germany, used both of the now doomed poets’ poems in their lyrics.

– This type of censorship is continuous, in Iran, where authorities imprison and torture people who express themselves politically in his art, says Linn Hansen.

– It is an extremely effective way to scare people.


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