Iran filmmaker Panahi gets six years in jail: lawyer
Tuesday 21 December 2010
Celebrated Iranian filmmaker and vocal backer of the opposition movement, Jafar Panahi, has been handed six years in jail and banned from making films and leaving Iran for 20 years, his lawyer said Monday.
"Mr. Panahi has been sentenced to six years in jail on a charge of (participating) in a gathering and carrying out propaganda against the system," Farideh Gheirat told ISNA news agency.
"His social rights, which include a ban on making movies, writing scripts, foreign travel and giving interviews to domestic and foreign media, have been taken away for 20 years."
Gheirat said she will appeal against the ruling.
Another young Iranian director, Mohammad Rasoulof, who was making a movie with Panahi before his arrest, has also been sentenced to six years in jail on similar charges, his lawyer Iman Mirzadeh told ISNA.
Panahi was arrested on March 1 along with his wife, daughter and several others at his home. Most of those arrested were subsequently released. He was freed on a bail of around 200,000 US dollars in May.
Soon after his arrest, Iranian officials said he was detained for making an "anti-regime" film about the unrest which rocked Iran after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009.
Panahi told AFP in September that the film he was shooting along with Rasoulof was about a "family and the post-election developments."
Panahi had said that "when a filmmaker does not make films it is as if he is jailed. Even when he is freed from the small jail, he finds himself wandering in a larger jail.
"The main question is: why should it be a crime to make a movie? A finished film, well, it can get banned but not the director," Panahi said.
He was, however, optimistic for the future of filmmaking in Iran despite a "restrictive" regime.
"There have always been restrictions, but over the past year it was the worst," said Panahi.
"I cannot be pessimistic though. Limitations have always existed, and this era will eventually come to an end too. It's important to have patience and resistance," said Panahi, 50, a leading figure in Iran's New Wave cinema movement.
While in prison before his release on bail Panahi resorted to a hunger strike to protest at the conditions of his detention and to press his demand that he be freed.
Panahi is known for his gritty, socially critical movies such as the "Circle," which bagged the 2000 Venice Golden Lion award, "Crimson Gold," and "Offside," winner of the 2006 Silver Bear at the Berlin film festival.
In February, the authorities banned Panahi from leaving the country to attend the Berlin film festival.
His arrest in March was protested by top international filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee and Oliver Stone and by several young Iranian directors.
The Cannes film festival and the French government had also condemned the jailing of Panahi, while French actress Juliette Binoche reportedly wept when she heard that he was on hunger strike.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food