Today it has been announced that Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, director of arthouse films such as Offside and The White Balloon, has been jailed for 6 years and been banned from filmmaking for 20 years. He is a famous vocal supporter of the Green Movement, an opposition to Iran’s government.
In convicting him of gathering propaganda against the regime his lawyer released this statement:
He is sentenced to six years in prison and also he is banned for 20 years from making any films, writing any scripts, travelling abroad and also giving any interviews to the media including foreign and domestic news organisations.
They are going to appeal this decision.
Panahi was arrested in July 2009 after participating in a mourning ceremony for the protesters killed in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election. He was released shortly afterwards but was denied permission to leave the country. In February, he was arrested and taken to a Tehran prison.
This year several filmmakers and actors were vocal in pledging for the release of Panahi including Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg and Juliette Binoche. Binoche was very vocal in her protest against his imprisonment holding up a sign for him when she won the Best Actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year holding up a sign for his release.
Panahi is one of the most interesting filmmakers working in Iranian cinema, and killing his voice is a severe detriment to bringing the culture of that nation to the world.