Iranian cartoonist sentenced to 25 lashes for cartoon of MP dressed as footballer | inside World Soccer

Iranian cartoonist Mahmoud Shokraye has been sentenced to 25 lashings for drawing a member of parliament wearing a football jersey.

Iranian cartoonist sentenced to 25 lashes for cartoon of MP dressed as a footballer
Photo: Mahmoud Shokraye
Shokrayeh's cartoon of an Iranian MP, Ahmad Lotfi Ashtiani, appeared in the Nam-e Amir journal, published in the central city of Arak.

In the cartoon, Ashtiani is depicted in a football stadium, dressed as a footballer with one arm on his waist, holding an award certificate in one hand and with his foot on a football.

Shokraye drew Ashtiani following widespread criticism in Iranian society towards a number of politicians who have been accused of interfering in the country's sports.

While it's nothing new for repressive governments to crack down on press freedoms and punish cartoonists, in Iran this incident seems like an escalation not only because of the harsh punishment, but because Shokrayeh's cartoon didn't have anything to do with religious issues.

Jo Glanville, the editor of the campaigning group Index on Censorship, said: "This is a new low for freedom of expression in Iran, making any legitimate comment or criticism of politicians impossible – never mind satirical comment."

It is the first time a lashing sentence has been handed down over a cartoon in Iran, although many have fallen victim to the state's aggression towards cartoonists.

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