Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

May 24, 2006

Cockroach Cartoonist Jailed In Iran

More information is now available on the cartoonist jailed along with his editor, and his newspaper closed, because of an insulting cartoon that led to rioting last week in Iran.

* The cartoonist's name is Mana Neyestani, and he was the paper's staff cartoonist.
* Neyestani is a member of the Azeri minority that was insulted by the cartoon.
* Size of minority in Iran: roughly 25 percent of 70 million Iranians.
* The editor arrested was Mehrdad Qasemfar, the editor-in-chief.
* The paper was Iran Friday, the weekend edition of Iran.
* The paper had already fired Neyestani and Qasemfar.
* The paper had run front-page apologies three days last week.
* The prosecutor that ordered the arrests is the chief prosecutor in Tehran, Saeed Mortazavi.
* Mortazavi has summored Iran's publisher to a hearing.
* The government agency that made the order to close the paper was the Press Supervisory Board at the Press and Information Department of the Culture and Islamic Guidance Miinistry.
* The charges were "publishing provocative materials and fomenting discord."
* The gag: a boy says the word for cockroach several times as they cockroach asks him "What?" in Azeri.
* Date of publication: May 12.
* Extent of riots: Local office of paper set afire in Orumiyeh; more widespread rioting in Tabriz injured several policemen; 54 arrested.
* Geo-political ramifications: Iranian President declares that US won't be able to exploit ethnic differences.

If I had found this article earlier, I would have saved myself the trouble of creating the above out of a half-dozen pieces like this one.
posted 3:29 am PST | Permalink

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