Iran: Acclaimed filmmaker to serve 6-year sentence

Iran: Acclaimed filmmaker to serve 6-year sentence

One of Iran’s most prominent filmmakers will serve a six-year sentence issued a decade ago that had never been carried out

One of Iran’s most prominent filmmakers will serve a six-year sentence issued a decade ago that had never been carried out, an Iranian court ordered Tuesday. The government has launched a campaign to silence criticism amid mounting economic troubles and political pressure.

Award-winning director Jafar Panahi, perhaps Iran’s best-known director, will serve a six-year sentence imposed on him in 2011 for producing anti-government propaganda, said Masoud Setayeshi, a spokesman for the Iranian judiciary, adding that the sentence should have been applied at the time.

Although Panahi has been banned from traveling in recent years, the sentence was never carried out and he continued to make underground films that were released abroad to critical acclaim. He has won several festival awards, such as the Berlin Golden Bear in 2015 for “Taxi”. His challenging films about poverty, sexism, violence and censorship in the Islamic republic have long been a source of anger for the government.

Authorities detained Panahi last week when he visited the Tehran prosecutor’s office to inquire into the cases of other detained dissident filmmakers, Mohamad Rasoulof and Mostafa al-Ahmad. Rasoulof and al-Ahmad were arrested this month and accused of undermining the country’s security by criticizing on social media the government’s violent crackdown on protests in the south-west of the country.

Panahi’s detention in Iran’s Evin prison has drawn widespread criticism from rights groups and drawn attention to the crackdown, which affects not only the country’s renowned film industry, but also protesters and activists.

The government has escalated its crackdown on dissent in its bid to stem the decline of Iran’s currency, the rial. Negotiations to revive Iran’s ailing nuclear deal with international powers remain stalled, and despair over the economic crisis has deepened with no prospect of lifting sanctions.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.