Call for Solidarity Overturn Condemnation Verdict of Iranian Movie Director Print


Jafar Panahi

The Association for Defence of Human Rights in Iran (ADDHI) calls upon Canadian Human Rights organisations, particularly those in Quebec, film directors and all other professional and personalities active in the 7th art, authors, and artistes as well as defenders of fundamental freedoms, to help us to put pressure on the Iranian authorities and demand to overturn this unjustified condemnation verdict issued against Iranian film director Jafar Panahi.

For some months, the Iranian authorities with the aide of the judiciary system have put in place a war machine aiming to silence and crush any expression of descend and particularly put pressure on artistes, writers, journalists, lawyers and unions not to speak out.

It is with great regret that we were informed by his lawyer, Farideh Gheirat that « Panahi has been sentenced to six years in prison for participation in assemblies and for making propaganda against the regime. He is also forbidden, for the next 20 years, to make movies, write scenarios, travel abroad, and give interviews ».  Another young movie director, Mohammad Rasoul, who had worked with Panahi, was also sentenced to six years in prison, for similar accusations.

In addition to his popularity in Iran, Jafar Panahi is also one the Iranian directors that has been recognized in many important international film festivals. His first movie, The White Balloon, was the winner of camera d’or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995. In 2003, he won the Jury Prize for Blood and Gold.  Prior to these, The Circle, was honoured with Golden Lion by the Mostra of Venise Film Festival in 2000 and his last movie, Off-Side, received the Silver Bear at the Berlinale in 2006.

His last forgin public engagement was in Montreal, at the Montreal International Film Festival in 2009, as the president of the jury.  Unfortunately, his chair was empty, and shall stay empty, during the 2010 Cannes Festival, Mostra of Venice, and the Berlinale, where he was expected to attend.

According to the French media, a support committee will be created by Thierry Frémaux, Director of Cannes Festival, and intellectuals and artistes will be mobilised to take any possible action in order to overturn Panahi’s condemnation verdict. The French Minister of Culture, Frédéric Mitterrand, « has denounced this unacceptable stain to the freedom of thought, artistic creativity, and demanding Panahi’ immediate release ».

ADDHI is very concern and scandalised by this condemnation and calls upon all professionals active in cinema and to everyone that values basic human liberties to join us to demand to overturn Jafar Panahi’s condemnation verdict.

Montréal le 22 December 2010

Coordination Committee of ADDHI;

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