A group of conservative students have requested the flogging of Iranian actress Leila Hatami for her on-the-cheek kiss with the president of the Cannes Film Festival during the opening ceremony, the British daily news website The Telegraph reported.
The group, which is called Hizbullah, has links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. It filed a complaint with Iran’s judiciary for the prosecution of the actress who stars in the Oscar-winning, “A Separation.”
“We, the undersigned, who are a group of student Muslim brothers and sisters, ask the cultural and media branch of the judiciary to prosecute Leyla Hatami for her sinful act of kissing a strange man in public, which according to article 638 of Islamic Criminal Justice carries a prison sentence,” the group wrote in the petition.
“Furthermore, the action of this film star has hurt the religious sentiments of the proud and martyrs breeding nation of Iran and as such we also demand the punishment of flogging for her as stipulated in the law,” it added.
Last week, Hatami angered the authorities of the Islamic Republic who considered the act as affront to the “chastity” of Iran’s women.
“Those who attend intentional events should take heed of the credibility and chastity of Iranians, so that a bad image of Iranian women will not be demonstrated to the world,” Deputy Culture Minister Hossein Noushabadi said, quoted by the website of state broadcaster IRIB.
“Iranian woman is the symbol of chastity and innocence,” he said. Hatami's “inappropriate presence” at the festival was “not in line with our religious beliefs.”
Hatami is on the jury this year at the annual Cannes festival in southern France but lives in Iran.
According to Iran’s interpretation of Islamic (sharia) law, in place since the 1979 revolution, a woman is not allowed to have physical contact with a man outside her family.