Jafar Panahi receives six year prison sentence

Glasgow Short Film Festival to be dedicated in his honour.

by Jennie Kermode

Award winning filmmaker Jafar Panahi was last night sentenced to six years' imprisonment in his native Iran, where all his films are banned. He has also been forbidden from making films or writing scripts for 20 years; he will not be allowed to speak to journalists or to travel abroad. As the international film community reacted in shock, Glasgow decided to rededicate its February Short Film Festival in his honour.

Mr Panahi has been convicted of "assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic", in reference to a documentary which he never completed. His wife, Tahereh Saeedi, has denied rumours that its subject was the government crackdowns which took place in the aftermath of the 2009 elections. Particular concern has been expressed because he has suffered ongoing health problems and claims to have been mistreated in prison.

Director Mohammad Rasoulof, who recently worked with Panahi, has also been given a six year sentence on related charges.

Fans in the West may know Panahi best for his popular and charming film The White Balloon, and for the more recent documentary Offside, which looked at the experiences of young female football fans in Tehran. Among other things, he has been a strong an persistent advocate of women's rights.

"When a film-maker 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," said Panahi, commenting on his past decision to press ahead with his work despite knowing that arrest was a possibility. His lawyer, Farideh Gheirat, has registered intent to appeal.

Share this with others on...

Movies out this week include:

JT LeRoy Leto Once Upon A Time ... In Hollywood
News

Beyond the garden Flavio Alves on telling authentic stories, representing violence, and The Garden Left Behind

Inside the story Valerio Mastandrea on working with Abel Ferrara, Valeria Golino, Silvio Soldini and Marco Bellocchio

Cultivating a story Flavio Alves on the lives of trans women and undocumented immigrants, and The Garden Left Behind

Mocky - Final exit for France’s restless free spirit Director and actor dies, aged 90

Costa-Gavras to be honoured at San Sebastian Filmmaker will receive Donostia Award

London Festival gets Knives Out Daniel Craig and Chris Evans star in modern 'whodunnit'

More news and features

Interact

More competitions coming soon.