Iran says the acclaimed filmmaker faces a six-year prison sentence

Iran’s judiciary has sentenced one of the country’s leading filmmakers to a six-year prison sentence that was never served ten years ago.

Asoud Setayeshi, a spokesman for Iran’s courts, announced that award-winning director Jafar Panahi, perhaps Iran’s best-known film director, would serve out his six-year sentence imposed in 2011 for producing anti-government propaganda, a final sentence he said would have to be implemented at that time.

The order came as the government sought to silence criticism amid mounting economic turmoil and political pressures.

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Jafar Panahi poses with his Silver Berlin Bear at the 56th Berlinale International Film Festival 2006 (Arnd Wiegmann/AP)

Although Panahi has been banned from traveling in recent years, the sentence was never enforced and he continued to make underground films that were released abroad to great acclaim.

He has won several festival awards, including the 2015 Berlin Golden Bear for Taxi.

His defiant films about poverty, sexism, violence and censorship in the Islamic Republic have long angered the government.

Authorities arrested him last week when he visited the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office to inquire about the cases of filmmakers Mohamad Rasoulof and Mostafa al-Ahmad, who were also detained.

Rasoulof and al-Ahmad were arrested earlier this month on charges of undermining the nation’s security by speaking out on social media against the government’s violent crackdown on unrest in the south-west.

The detention of Panahi in Iran’s Evin prison has drawn widespread criticism from rights groups and shed light on a wave of repression affecting not only the country’s famous cinema industry but also activists and protesters.

The government has tightened its crackdown on dissent to prevent Iran’s currency, the rial, from plummeting.

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Talks to revive Tehran’s shattered nuclear deal with world powers remain deadlocked, and despair over the economic crisis deepens with no relaxation of sanctions in sight.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/iran-says-acclaimed-filmmaker-must-serve-six-year-sentence-41850995.html Iran says the acclaimed filmmaker faces a six-year prison sentence

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