An Iranian cartoonist has been sentenced to 25 lashes for a caricature of a local MP, the semi-official Ilna news agency has reported.
Ahmad Lotfi Ashtiani, MP for Arak, took offence to a cartoon published in Nameye Amir, a city newspaper in Arak.
The cartoonist, Mahmoud Shokraye, depicted Ashtiani in a football stadium, dressed as a footballer, with a congratulatory letter in one hand and his foot resting on the ball.
Iranian politicians, including Ashtiani, have been recently criticised for interferring in the country's sports. The MP's forehead in the cartoon (as also in reality) has a dark mark, said to be the sign of a pious muslim, caused (supposedly) by frequent prostration during prayer.
Shokraye was subsequently sued by the MP for having insulted him. A court in Markazi province, of which Arak is the capital, sentenced the cartoonist to 25 lashes – an unprecedented punishment for an Iranian cartoonist.