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Leila Hatami: Student group calls for Iranian actress to be flogged following Cannes Film Festival kiss

Ms Hatami caused outrage among religious authorities after she was pictured kissing Giles Jacob on the cheek at the film festival

An Iranian actress who angered religious authorities after she kissed the president of Cannes Film Festival on the cheek now faces a call that she be publicly flogged.

Leila Hatami, currently a juror at Cannes, was photographed giving Giles Jacob, 83, a peck on the cheek at a ceremonial event last week.

The actress was condemned by Islamic Republic officials for presenting “a bad image of Iranian women” to the world.

And on Wednesday, Hizbullah Students – a group of students with links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard – called for Ms Hatami to be prosecuted, The Telegraph reported.

In the Iranian interpretation of sharia law, a woman is not allowed to have any physical contact with a man outside of her own family.

According to the Tasnim news website, the Hizbullah Students organisation has filed a complaint with the judiciary demanding that Ms Hatami be punished, the newspaper reported. The maximum sentence is 50 lashes.


Their request stated: “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.

“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.”

Mr Jacob defended the kiss as “a usual custom in the West”.

He tweeted: “I kissed Mrs Hatami on the cheek. At that moment, for me she represented all Iranian cinema, then she became herself again.”

Ms Hatami, who lives in Iran, rose to fame following her appearance in Oscar-winning film A Separation, directed by Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi.