Media linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) allege that Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Mousavi, two Iranian poets who are facing long jail terms and flogging, have fled the country.

Photo published by Fars of Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Mousavi on Kavosh

Photo published by Fars of Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Mousavi on Kavosh

The Fars News Agency reports that the two poets, who were out on bail awaiting the decision of the appeals court, have fled Iran. The report also contains a photo of the two appearing on a TV program on the Kavosh Network in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Azad University News Agency has also confirmed the news and adds that the two are currently in Soleymanieh and have applied for asylum in Sweden. The news, however, has not been confirmed by independent media or their supporters on social media.

The two poets were sentenced to 198 lashes and 20 years in jail for “blasphemy, publishing pornographic images on the Internet and kissing and shaking hands with strangers”.

Mehdi Mousavi had challenged the decision as “unfair”, saying it was issued without affording him a chance to present his defence.