21 December 2010
Iranian regimes sentences Jafar Panahi to six years
Today’s Guardian reports that Director Jafar Panahi has been sentenced to a draconian sent2nce by the Iranian authorities, simply for his opposition to the current regime. He will ser a six year prison sentence. He is also banned from directing and producing films for the next 20 years.
Panahi, was convicted of colluding in gathering and making propaganda against the regime. He is also banned from
writing any scripts, travelling abroad and also giving any interviews to the media including foreign and domestic news organisations
Panahi won the Camera d'Or at the Cannes film festival in 1995 for his debut feature, The White Balloon, and the Golden Lion at Venice for his 2000 drama, The Circle. His other films include Crimson Gold and Offside. He is highly regarded around the world but his films are banned at home.
Hamid Dabashi, a professor of Iranian studies at Columbia University, said "This is a catastrophe for Iran's cinema," he said. "Panahi is now exactly in the most creative phase of his life and by silencing him at this sensitive time, they are killing his art and talent…What Iran is doing with the artists, is exactly similar to what Taliban did in Afghanistan. This is exactly like bombing Buddha statues by the Taliban, Iran is doing the same with its artists."
The regime has handed out utterly unjustifiable sentences to far too many protestors. Panahi is just one of them, but one with a very high international profile. I doubt that Ahmadinejad and his rabble are in the mood for leniency so there is little chance that he will be released any time soon. That does not mean there should not be pressure on the regime on behalf of Panahi and so many others unjustly imprisoned