Iranian filmmaker Panahi serving 6-year prison sentence, authorities say

Tehran, Jul 19 (EFE).- Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi has been ordered to serve a six-year prison sentence that was handed down to him over a decade ago but never enforced, a judicial official said Tuesday.

Panahi was detained on July 11 after turning up at the Tehran prosecutor’s office with other colleagues to inquire about two other renowned filmmakers who have been placed under arrest — Mohamad Rasoulof and Mostafa Alahmad.

Masoud Setayeshi, spokesman for the Iranian judiciary, said Panahi had been taken to Tehran’s Evin prison to serve out his six-year sentence for “collusion” against national security and “propaganda against the system.”

The sentence, issued following the anti-government protests that engulfed Iran in 2009, also banned him from making movies, writing screenplays, traveling abroad, and giving interviews to local or foreign media, his lawyer revealed at the time.

Although he was released about two months later on $200,000 bail, the verdict is still “binding,” Setayeshi said. Iranian authorities had not revealed the reason behind his recent arrest.

However, the day before his arrest, Panahi published a statement signed by 334 Iranian filmmakers condemning “the suppression” of artists and independent film professionals in the country.

The statement, published on Instagram, demanded “the immediate and unconditional release” of Rasoulof and Alahmad, who have been taken “to an anonymous place.”

Panahi has won numerous and prestigious awards including the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2015 for Taxi and the best screenplay at Cannes for Three Faces in 2018. EFE


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