Iranian actress Leila Hatami has come under fire from Hizbullah Students, a student organization with ties to Iran's revolutionary guard, for kissing Gilles Jacob, president of the Cannes Festival. While Hatami's behavior was decried by Islamic Republic officials, Hizbullah Students has gone further, filing a report with the courts and demanding that Hatami be flogged publicly.
The maximum punishment for Hatami's crime, "kissing a strange man", under Islamic law is 50 lashes. Jacob has tried to downplay the backlash by stating that the almost nonexistent kiss the two shared is appropriate in western culture, but the students are undeterred. They've written the following petition.
"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 petition read.
"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."
Hatami, who The Telegraph reports was wearing a scarf around her neck but not covering the crown of her head at the time of the kiss, has also drawn the ire of the Iranian media.
Iranian conservative media have claimed the greeting "was an affront to the chastity of women in Iran".
Hossein Nushabadi, Iran's deputy minister of culture, declared Hatami's appearance in Cannes "in violation of religious beliefs".
"Iranian woman is the symbol of chastity and innocence," he said.
Hatami was attending the festival as a member of the jury.
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