October 14, 2020
In Iran’s capital city of Tehran, a young teacher, Reza Nahzat, was sentenced to 45 lashes for “insulting” Iran’s Minister of Education and his deputy.
A photo of the verdict is widely circulating on the Iranian social media.
Nahzat is accused of “insulting” the Minister, Mohsen Haj Mirzaei, and his Deputy, Allahyar Torkamanyar, in a satirical note on his Telegram channel.
The Civil Servants Tribunal sentenced Nahzat for writing the note and republishing it on social media.
Earlier in May, Nahzat had stated that his initial charges were “spreading lies, insults, and defamation,” but the Culture and Media Court rejected the cases of spreading lies and defamation and referred his case to the Civil Service Tribunal for “insult.”
The tribunal’s sentencing of Nahzat to lashes was met with a backlash from many of his colleagues across Iran on social media. Expressing sympathy for Nahzat, they have announced their readiness to endure the punishment on his behalf.
Based on the court ruling, the verdict against Nahzat can be appealed within 20 days after notification.
“In a quiz TV show in the 1990s, Allahyar Torkman, (now the Deputy Minister of Education), was asked, ‘What tree should be planted to stabilize desert sands?’ and he responded, ‘Banana trees.’ An education [Telegram] channel’s admin has shared this. The Minister and his deputy have filed a lawsuit against him, and the court has sentenced the teacher to 45 lashes. As simple as that,” a tweet said.