Keyvan Karimi

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Documentary filmmaker Keyvan Karimi began serving a sentence of one year in prison and 223 lashes in Tehran’s Evin prison on November 23, 2016, according to reformist news website Kalame.

In October 2015, Branch 38 of Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Karimi to six years in prison for “insulting sanctities” and “propagandizing against the state,” and 223 lashes for on the unrelated charge that he was in an “illegitimate sexual relationship short of adultery.” Karimi’s lawyer told the U.S.-government-funded Radio Farda that the latter charge stems from his having “shaken a woman’s hand and kissed her on the cheeks in greeting.” Following that conviction, 136 Iranian filmmakers in December 2015 wrote an open letter asking an appeals court to overturn the verdict in December 2015. In February 2016, an appeals court reduced Karimi’s prison term to one year, the filmmaker told The Associated Press at the time.

Karimi’s lawyer, Amir Raeisian, told Radio Farda that the charges against the filmmaker stem from an unfinished documentary about graffiti from the 1979 revolution to the 2009 elections titled, “Writing on the City.” Raeisian told the broadcaster that Karimi had acquired a license from the Ministry of Guidance and Islamic Culture to make the documentary.