Censorship in Iran, Ethnic Romance Version

Anne Penketh in The Independent:

Yaghoub Yaadali, a 36-year-old television director, received a suspended jail sentence last summer on charges of “spreading lies, defamation and insulting a tribal minority”.

In his book, The Rules of Restlessness, a fictional character has an affair with a woman from an ethnic Bakhtiari village. It won Iran’s highest honour for literature, the Golshiri award, in 2004. As with any other work, it was only published after obtaining permission from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

When he was sentenced to three months in jail, suspended for nine months, last September it caused a sensation in Iranian intellectual circles. He had already spent 47 days in prison. The judge ordered him to write four articles on “cultural and artistic personalities, each at a minimum length of one page on size A4 paper, to be published every six months” at his own expense.

His supporters were dumbstruck when, on appeal last month, the court toughened the sentence to actual imprisonment. “It’s unheard of,” said one Iranian. The writer was ordered to begin his sentence before the Iranian new year, (21 March) but hopes that if he completes the articles the jail time will be suspended.

The censor’s verdict is even falling on new editions of published works. The Culture Ministry demands changes, and if the demand is not met, halts publication.

[H/t: Hadi Ghaemi]