Photographers in Iran Sentenced to 75 Lashes After Giving Official’s Photo Book Bad Reviews


Do you have dreams of being an outspoken reviewer of photography books? Certain provinces of Iran might not be the best place for you to launch that career. A pair of Iran photographers were recently sentenced to a total of 75 lashes for publishing negative reviews about an official’s photography book.

The Guardian reports that the dispute started when photographer Khalil Imami wrote a scathing review of the book, “Qazvin, the Land of Times Past,” in a weekly publication titled Taban. He argued that the 216-page book had “little artistic value,” and that the 230 photos contained within were marred by various issues (e.g. poor lighting, bad framing, and distortions).

It turns out the man behind the photo book was Mohammad-Ali Hazrati, the head of the local cultural heritage organization in the Qazvin province and cultural advisor to the governor. Hazrati responded to Imami’s review by writing a response in the publication under a pseudonym.

A second photographer named Abbas Alipour then spoke out, defending Imami, exposing Hazrati’s identity, and questioning Hazrati’s photography credentials.

In response, Hazrati took the photographers to the provincial court, which found them guilty of insulting Hazrati. One was sentenced to 25 lashes, and the other received 50 — all for the crime of pointing out some inept camerawork.

Image credits: Photo illustration based on photo by Jakob Montrasio

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    Ow? Makes me want to see the photos

  • Thekaph

    Haineous comments in 3..2..1..

  • bob cooley

    Unfortunately its not on GoodReads or – there are always pretty amusing reviews there…

  • Juan Bautista

    They should just put their pics on instagram and every one will love them!
    Nothing that I personally want to see!

  • Pete

    The only heinous comment here is your butchering of the English language… unless you’re Old French, then we’re cool.

  • Thekaph

    I am french sorry for the misspelling!

  • Pete

    Pas de problème :)

  • Bolkey

    Keep the photo’s. Just whip me right away.

  • Trevor Dennis

    Imagine Simon Cowell, on ‘Iran’s Got Talent’. ;-)

  • Eric Lefebvre

    And this is why I’m very happy I live in Canada!

  • Juan Gonzalez

    Death by Snu-snu!

  • Federico Feroldi

    Talking about corruption…

  • MMielech

    Paging Jon Stewart……

  • pgb0517

    The Human Rights Commission is doing OK by you, is it?

  • Mike

    A better punishment would have been locking their camera on green box mode and a lifetime ban on lighting equipment.

  • Mike

    I sentence you to 75 internet lashes.

  • @JacksonCheese

    Thanks Obama.

  • Eric Lefebvre

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. We have some human rights issues!

    -The Indian Residential Schools.
    -The use of war times laws against Canadian Citizens in 2010’s G20 summit meeting in Toronto.

    Just 2 quick examples off the top of my head … but lashings for critiquing a book? Pretty sure I’m safe from that here. :)

  • Genkakuzai


  • Oj0


  • Ryan Good

    So glad I live in the free world

  • pgb0517

    Our turn is coming.

  • ChangeIranNow

    Despite Iran’s attempt to persuade the world otherwise, it remains a brutal theocracy where anything can land you in jail if it rubs the Islamist authorities the wrong way. I think we can finally put to bed any thoughts that Iran is a nation governed and controlled by moderate, liberal, well meaning people? It has a constitution that vests ultimate authority in a ruling religious council and Supreme Leader who has final say on all matters military, civil, judicial and economic. It’s a nation that let’s its paramilitary and quasi-judicial arms run amok and one that has steadfastly refused any and all efforts to link human rights improvements to any nuclear deal to lift sanctions. Lashing someone over a bad review is sadly not a surprise, but more proof that Iran is serious…and I don’t
    mean seriously crazy, but serious about enforcing its view of the world on the everyone else.

  • Genkakuzai

    Tell that to the people of Ferguson ;)