Distinguished Iranian Film Director Jafar Panahi Receives Preposterous Sentence

Jafar Panahi

Jafar Panahi is one of the most acclaimed film directors in the world. Admirers like myself were horrified and astonished at the news, announced yesterday, that Jafar Panahi had been sentenced not only to six years in prison, but to an unimaginable twenty-year total ban on all his artistic activities—including film making, script writing, traveling outside the country and speaking with the media.

He was convicted by a Revolutionary Court of “propaganda against the system” for having exercised his right to peaceful freedom of expression through his film-making and political activism. He was specifically accused of making an anti-government film without permission and inciting opposition protests after the disputed 2009 presidential election. Mr. Panahi’s artistic collaborator, Mohammad Rasoulof, was also sentenced to six years in prison.

Jafar Panahi is the director of such masterpieces of Iranian cinema as “Badkonake Sefid” (White Balloon), “Dayareh” (Circle), for which he won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, “Talayeh Sorkh” (Crimson Gold), and “Offside.” He was detained in Evin Prison in Tehran for nearly three months following his arrest at his home on 1 March 2010. While in prison he carried out a hunger strike to protest his degrading treatment, including being forced to stand outside in the cold with no clothing. He was invited to be a judge at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2010 but was in detention during the entire festival. His absence was recognized by the presence of an empty chair meant for him in prominent view on the stage throughout the festival.

For those who are as outraged as I am, I strongly encourage you to take action immediately to protest this travesty of justice to the Iranian authorities. If only this were an isolated case, but sadly, Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof are two more (albeit prominent) victims of a vicious and unrelenting campaign by the Iranian government to stamp out any dissenting voices—whether they be artistic, political, journalistic, advocacy or academic. In response, Amnesty International is pursuing its own campaign to highlight the cases of prisoners of conscience languishing in Iran.

While speaking at his trial in Tehran in November, Jafar Panahi said, “I, Jafar Panahi, declare once again that I am an Iranian, I am staying in my country and I like to work in my own country. I love my country, I have paid a price for this love too, and I am willing to pay again if necessary.” Would that the authorities in Iran recognized Jafar Panahi for the distinction and honor he brings his country.

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60 thoughts on “Distinguished Iranian Film Director Jafar Panahi Receives Preposterous Sentence

  1. Completely unacceptable! This must change, their county must change. This violates human rights and threatens our very existence. If we are to survive we need to stand up for humanity and not allow such mistreatment. Talk about taking away our freedoms this is a perfect example. He broke no laws, he did no harm to anyone.

  2. It´s a pity, of course, but he is to blame too. He lives in a certain country, so he has to obey the laws of that country. If he don´t like them, he can go away. He made his choice, took the risk, and now pay the consequences.
    If hadn´t been such risk, the merit would have been way smaller.

  3. In response to Yawmoght: Jafar Panahi's conviction on the basis of flimsy and unsubstantiated charges actually contravenes Iranian law as well as international law. And Mr. Panahi has been prevented from traveling out of the country so even if he wanted to leave, he could not.

  4. It's hard to believe this still goes on , but while it does we must protest for the right of freedom of speech .
    Art in any media should not be bound and gagged or locked away , it's part of who we are, it makes us think , which is evidently why he and others like him are being persecuted.

  5. Utterly horrendous. If there's no freedom of expression through art without going to prison and having half your human rights taken away then what is there for people with a gift for creativity?

  6. I TSincredeble that in 2010 people go to just because it shows realety, please this is a false freedom we are having in hour world.And i believe that we loosing our freedom day by day and our freedom of speech .Sometimes i dont know if its worth it fighting,we are living in hipocrat world

  7. I TSincredeble that in 2010 people go to just because it shows realety, please this is a false freedom we are having in hour world.And i believe that we loosing our freedom day by day and our freedom of speech .Sometimes i dont know if its worth it fighting.Please let people show what they know.

  8. yet we are born within thee womb to discover create and adhere to life's commands. Who are we amongst ourselves to determine wrong from right? For it is within's one's self that is determined one's life one's death and one's right of Freedom to whom the womb belongs too.Thee World is battled many from within it's World, Amity must conquer if we are ALL to make it back within the womb.

  9. When we click on the grey button in order to send the urgent action letter via email on the Ayatollah's website, the page reloads and remains as it was before the grey button was pressed (name/content of letter remains as well, nothing gets deleted). I don't see any indication that my message went through. Was the email sent? Please help! Thanks!

  10. Completely unacceptable! This must change, their county must change. This violates human rights and threatens our very existence. If we are to survive we need to stand up for humanity and not allow such mistreatment. Talk about taking away our freedoms this is a perfect example. He broke no laws, he did no harm to anyone.

  11. It´s a pity, of course, but he is to blame too. He lives in a certain country, so he has to obey the laws of that country. If he don´t like them, he can go away. He made his choice, took the risk, and now pay the consequences.
    If hadn´t been such risk, the merit would have been way smaller.

  12. In response to Yawmoght: Jafar Panahi’s conviction on the basis of flimsy and unsubstantiated charges actually contravenes Iranian law as well as international law. And Mr. Panahi has been prevented from traveling out of the country so even if he wanted to leave, he could not.

  13. It’s hard to believe this still goes on , but while it does we must protest for the right of freedom of speech .
    Art in any media should not be bound and gagged or locked away , it’s part of who we are, it makes us think , which is evidently why he and others like him are being persecuted.

  14. Utterly horrendous. If there’s no freedom of expression through art without going to prison and having half your human rights taken away then what is there for people with a gift for creativity?

  15. I TSincredeble that in 2010 people go to just because it shows realety, please this is a false freedom we are having in hour world.And i believe that we loosing our freedom day by day and our freedom of speech .Sometimes i dont know if its worth it fighting,we are living in hipocrat world

  16. I TSincredeble that in 2010 people go to just because it shows realety, please this is a false freedom we are having in hour world.And i believe that we loosing our freedom day by day and our freedom of speech .Sometimes i dont know if its worth it fighting.Please let people show what they know.

  17. This is a Human Rights Violation..one of many committed by this government….Allow Artists the Freedom of Expression & Free These Innocent Souls that Have the Courage To Tell the World the Truth about the crimes of the iranian government which we Persians do NOT recognize nor accept nor want. We want a society where people are safe to express themselves. Free Panahi NOW.

  18. yet we are born within thee womb to discover create and adhere to life’s commands. Who are we amongst ourselves to determine wrong from right? For it is within’s one’s self that is determined one’s life one’s death and one’s right of Freedom to whom the womb belongs too.Thee World is battled many from within it’s World, Amity must conquer if we are ALL to make it back within the womb.

  19. When we click on the grey button in order to send the urgent action letter via email on the Ayatollah’s website, the page reloads and remains as it was before the grey button was pressed (name/content of letter remains as well, nothing gets deleted). I don’t see any indication that my message went through. Was the email sent? Please help! Thanks!

  20. This is a Human Rights Violation..one of many committed by this government….Allow Artists the Freedom of Expression & Free These Innocent Souls that Have the Courage To Tell the World the Truth about the crimes of the iranian government which we Persians do NOT recognize nor accept nor want. We want a society where people are safe to express themselves. Free Panahi NOW.

  21. hi, my names are Arial Sharon, George Bush, and Tony Blair. Im going to invade the arab countried and steal the oil and gold and blame it on weapons of mass destruction. Its ok though because we will be able to commit crimes agains humanity, get away with mass massacres, bomb and kill anything we please, steal anything we please, rape and disrespect anybody we please and we can get away with it because we wont be convicted because we are westerners. however, we challenge the middle east to disobey international laws. if they do we will prosecute them and tarnish their reputation! you cant prosecute us for the wars we have made, but we can prosecute you for the crimes you have committed towards your own people!
    ok now that about sums up what i have to say about people talking about disobeying international laws and about committing crimes against humanity. seriously people. the iranians do not deserve it. not one bit. nobody does but before trying to overthrow a government that wants the US out of the holy land, maybe u guys should protest on the way the US, UK and israel handle things!
    I in no way agree with what is happening in iran!

  22. In response to Arial: Amnesty International does not single out Iran or any other country for criticism. Amnesty International deplores human rights violations wherever and whenever they occur. Amnesty International has persistently reported and carried out activism on human rights violations committed by the U.S., the U.K. and Israel. For information about Amnesty's "Counter Terror with Justice" campaign that addresses many of the violations committed by the U.S. government related to the "war on terror" please see: http://www.amnestyusa.org/counter-terror-with-jus… and also: http://www.amnestyusa.org/military-contractors/pa…. A good place to begin looking at the work done by AI to combat violations committed by Israel is: http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/israel/oc…. Amnesty International has also consistently criticized the use of violence by armed groups in Iran–most recently the lethal suicide bomb attack in Sistan-Baluchistan on 15 December that killed dozens of innocent civilians.

  23. I agree with you Arial Sharon(the comment before me)…lol, but in no way I'm I agreeing with hypocritical Iranian bureaucrats. I understand why so many Muslim and Communists countries want allow their citizens to be expose to our selfish contradicting agendas, but cowardly controlling a man's conscience and views thru the Arts,despicable!!! I'm a Filmmaker/Editor/Writer/Singer. Let the people that govern this nation ever try pulling that stunt here, and see what happens!!! I would be so thrilled the day I start to see more people that govern our countries learn to separate themselves from their ecclesiastical states.(Religious Leaders) Politicians are supposed to know how to reason instead of compromising with religious ignorant ass fanatics!!!!!!!!
    Learn how to govern your citizens without controlling their freedom of conscience just because you don't agree with their views you zealous for Conscience Laws Idiots!!!! Like your brother Iraq, your day is coming dealing with this Police Beast.

  24. In response to Arial: Amnesty International does not single out Iran or any other country for criticism. Amnesty International deplores human rights violations wherever and whenever they occur. Amnesty International has persistently reported and carried out activism on human rights violations committed by the U.S., the U.K. and Israel. For information about Amnesty's "Counter Terror with Justice" campaign that addresses many of the violations committed by the U.S. government related to the "war on terror" please see: http://www.amnestyusa.org/counter-terror-with-jus… and also: http://www.amnestyusa.org/military-contractors/pa…. A good place to begin looking at the work done by AI to combat violations committed by Israel is: http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/israel/oc…. Amnesty International has also consistently criticized the use of violence by armed groups in Iran–most recently the lethal suicide bomb attack in Sistan-Baluchistan on 15 December that killed dozens of innocent civilians.

  25. In response to Arial: Amnesty International does not single out Iran or any other country for criticism. Amnesty International deplores human rights violations wherever and whenever they occur. Amnesty International has persistently reported and carried out activism on human rights violations committed by the U.S., the U.K. and Israel. For information about Amnesty's "Counter Terror with Justice" campaign that addresses many of the violations committed by the U.S. government related to the "war on terror" please see: http://www.amnestyusa.org/counter-terror-with-jus… and also: http://www.amnestyusa.org/military-contractors/pa…. A good place to begin looking at the work done by AI to combat violations committed by Israel is: http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/israel/oc…. Amnesty International has also consistently criticized the use of violence by armed groups in Iran–most recently the lethal suicide bomb attack in Sistan-Baluchistan on 15 December that killed dozens of innocent civilians.

  26. That is so unfair!!!
    To take away job that you love is like to take of the air.There is a lot of things that makes people happy-music,art,dances,singing and the other things that discrubes yourself,the man who you are,and taking away this part of your live which you adore,is unhumanical.
    the situations like this had happend earlier,we shouldn't sit and wait when will they come for us.

  27. hi, my names are Arial Sharon, George Bush, and Tony Blair. Im going to invade the arab countried and steal the oil and gold and blame it on weapons of mass destruction. Its ok though because we will be able to commit crimes agains humanity, get away with mass massacres, bomb and kill anything we please, steal anything we please, rape and disrespect anybody we please and we can get away with it because we wont be convicted because we are westerners. however, we challenge the middle east to disobey international laws. if they do we will prosecute them and tarnish their reputation! you cant prosecute us for the wars we have made, but we can prosecute you for the crimes you have committed towards your own people!
    ok now that about sums up what i have to say about people talking about disobeying international laws and about committing crimes against humanity. seriously people. the iranians do not deserve it. not one bit. nobody does but before trying to overthrow a government that wants the US out of the holy land, maybe u guys should protest on the way the US, UK and israel handle things!
    I in no way agree with what is happening in iran!

  28. I agree with you Arial Sharon(the comment before me)…lol, but in no way I’m I agreeing with hypocritical Iranian bureaucrats. I understand why so many Muslim and Communists countries want allow their citizens to be expose to our selfish contradicting agendas, but cowardly controlling a man’s conscience and views thru the Arts,despicable!!! I’m a Filmmaker/Editor/Writer/Singer. Let the people that govern this nation ever try pulling that stunt here, and see what happens!!! I would be so thrilled the day I start to see more people that govern our countries learn to separate themselves from their ecclesiastical states.(Religious Leaders) Politicians are supposed to know how to reason instead of compromising with religious ignorant ass fanatics!!!!!!!!
    Learn how to govern your citizens without controlling their freedom of conscience just because you don’t agree with their views you zealous for Conscience Laws Idiots!!!! Like your brother Iraq, your day is coming dealing with this Police Beast.

  29. In response to Arial: Amnesty International does not single out Iran or any other country for criticism. Amnesty International deplores human rights violations wherever and whenever they occur. Amnesty International has persistently reported and carried out activism on human rights violations committed by the U.S., the U.K. and Israel. For information about Amnesty’s “Counter Terror with Justice” campaign that addresses many of the violations committed by the U.S. government related to the “war on terror” please see: http://www.amnestyusa.org/counter-terror-with-justice/page.do?id=1011329 and also: http://www.amnestyusa.org/military-contractors/page.do?id=1101665. A good place to begin looking at the work done by AI to combat violations committed by Israel is: http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/israel/occupied-palestinian-territories/page.do?id=1011175. Amnesty International has also consistently criticized the use of violence by armed groups in Iran–most recently the lethal suicide bomb attack in Sistan-Baluchistan on 15 December that killed dozens of innocent civilians.

  30. That is so unfair!!!
    To take away job that you love is like to take of the air.There is a lot of things that makes people happy-music,art,dances,singing and the other things that discrubes yourself,the man who you are,and taking away this part of your live which you adore,is unhumanical.
    the situations like this had happend earlier,we shouldn’t sit and wait when will they come for us.

  31. Banning someone from leaving the country, and talking to the media is beyond rediculous, but most of all unhuman in so many ways.
    This sort of powercontrol must end, and it really has to start with the people in Iran.

  32. In response to Sandra: The Iranian people have been extraordinarily courageous and persistent in fighting for their human rights. Large numbers of Iranian human rights defenders languish in prison at the moment for their peaceful activism on behalf of their fellow citizens. Among a long list: Mansour Ossanlu, the head of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Drivers Union who is serving a prison sentence for having fought for the right to form independent labor unions; Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights attorney who has defended such figures as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi; Majid Tavakkoli, a students rights activist serving a long prison term for having given a speech supporting student rights; Hengameh Shahidi a journalist and women's rights activist serving a long prison sentence. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations are supporting the work that is being spearheaded and carried along by Iranians themselves in Iran, at enormous personal risk to themselves. Their courage and tenacity is a constant inspiration to me and so many others.

  33. Human rights violations committed by every country including the US, Britain, Israel, China,Iran,Korea, and all countries that do this are Wrong. We stand for HUMAN rights not rights of some over others…this pageis about this Persian Director however in this case & what is happening to him now…just because we are NOT protesting every inhumane thing going on in the world on this page does NOT mean we are unaware, nor that we don't care about other human lives. If you are In North America or Europe it does NOT excuse human rights violations.

  34. Banning someone from leaving the country, and talking to the media is beyond rediculous, but most of all unhuman in so many ways.
    This sort of powercontrol must end, and it really has to start with the people in Iran.

  35. In response to Sandra: The Iranian people have been extraordinarily courageous and persistent in fighting for their human rights. Large numbers of Iranian human rights defenders languish in prison at the moment for their peaceful activism on behalf of their fellow citizens. Among a long list: Mansour Ossanlu, the head of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Drivers Union who is serving a prison sentence for having fought for the right to form independent labor unions; Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights attorney who has defended such figures as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi; Majid Tavakkoli, a students rights activist serving a long prison term for having given a speech supporting student rights; Hengameh Shahidi a journalist and women’s rights activist serving a long prison sentence. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations are supporting the work that is being spearheaded and carried along by Iranians themselves in Iran, at enormous personal risk to themselves. Their courage and tenacity is a constant inspiration to me and so many others.

  36. Human rights violations committed by every country including the US, Britain, Israel, China,Iran,Korea, and all countries that do this are Wrong. We stand for HUMAN rights not rights of some over others…this pageis about this Persian Director however in this case & what is happening to him now…just because we are NOT protesting every inhumane thing going on in the world on this page does NOT mean we are unaware, nor that we don’t care about other human lives. If you are In North America or Europe it does NOT excuse human rights violations.

  37. Dont agree with whats happening. BUT the americans, british, and the israelis arent getting prosecuted for doing things to other countries. what happens in iran is in iran, not in other countries. i think all those leaders should be locked up. but non are. and most are worse than the irani leader. yet they are the dictators……? seriously they will all get their day one day. but what im saying is it aint happening anytime soon because they are all probably working together on this. or agains each other, both ways it will only cause more havoc. i respect this director. more than i respect any of those governments. his time to shine again will come again sometime. whether its now, in a year, 10 years or 100years! his work and respect will always be topnotch. may god be with him and all those others that are fighting for their rights.

  38. Dont agree with whats happening. BUT the americans, british, and the israelis arent getting prosecuted for doing things to other countries. what happens in iran is in iran, not in other countries. i think all those leaders should be locked up. but non are. and most are worse than the irani leader. yet they are the dictators……? seriously they will all get their day one day. but what im saying is it aint happening anytime soon because they are all probably working together on this. or agains each other, both ways it will only cause more havoc. i respect this director. more than i respect any of those governments. his time to shine again will come again sometime. whether its now, in a year, 10 years or 100years! his work and respect will always be topnotch. may god be with him and all those others that are fighting for their rights.

  39. Panahi cafer I say to get past. next to it, and supporter. I am against all kinds of restrictive mentality. people think about themselves and take it forward in the name of humanity to demonstrate in a comfortable way. For these reasons, Panahi cafer to protest the injustice, I would.

  40. Panahi cafer I say to get past. next to it, and supporter. I am against all kinds of restrictive mentality. people think about themselves and take it forward in the name of humanity to demonstrate in a comfortable way. For these reasons, Panahi cafer to protest the injustice, I would.

  41. As an Iranian film maker living in The U.S., on January 1st 2011, I released a movie called THE GOLDEN VEIL (http://www.TheGoldenVeil.com ). This film shows that the 1979 Iranian revolution was a conspiracy and a dirty lie. On January 20th 2011, The Islamic Republic of Iran blocked the website and the DVD order page so the Iranian populace could not have access to it.
    For how long do they wish to blindfold the Iranian nation ???

  42. As an Iranian film maker living in The U.S., on January 1st 2011, I released a movie called THE GOLDEN VEIL (http://www.TheGoldenVeil.com ). This film shows that the 1979 Iranian revolution was a conspiracy and a dirty lie. On January 20th 2011, The Islamic Republic of Iran blocked the website and the DVD order page so the Iranian populace could not have access to it.
    For how long do they wish to blindfold the Iranian nation ???

  43. As an Iranian film maker living in The U.S., on January 1st 2011, I released a movie called THE GOLDEN VEIL (http://www.TheGoldenVeil.com ). This film shows that the 1979 Iranian revolution was a conspiracy and a dirty lie. On January 20th 2011, The Islamic Republic of Iran blocked the website and the DVD order page so the Iranian populace could not have access to it.
    For how long do they wish to blindfold the Iranian nation ???

  44. I support the Iranian opposition to their TERRORIST government, and have signed petitions to free Roxana Saberi as well as other pro-democracy activists. That said, I would have signed this petition as well if it hadn't been supported by the ANTI-AMERICAN TRAITORS Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. As it is, I'll have to pass on this one so as not to compromise on my own principles. Long live America, and long live the Iranian opposition!

  45. As an Iranian film maker living in The U.S., on January 1st 2011, I released a movie called THE GOLDEN VEIL (http://www.TheGoldenVeil.com ). This film shows that the 1979 Iranian revolution was a conspiracy and a dirty lie. On January 20th 2011, The Islamic Republic of Iran blocked the website and the DVD order page so the Iranian populace could not have access to it.
    For how long do they wish to blindfold the Iranian nation ???

  46. I support the Iranian opposition to their TERRORIST government, and have signed petitions to free Roxana Saberi as well as other pro-democracy activists. That said, I would have signed this petition as well if it hadn’t been supported by the ANTI-AMERICAN TRAITORS Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. As it is, I’ll have to pass on this one so as not to compromise on my own principles. Long live America, and long live the Iranian opposition!

  47. I am so sorry for this travesty that continues to occur in Iran. It just never seems to end and seems to get worse. I am not able at this time to sign the "Take Action" I have family that were involved in the protests and cannot jeopardize their getting out of Iran. I do sympathize with Jafar and his family and I know one day the TRUE VOICES of Iran will speak.

  48. I am so sorry for this travesty that continues to occur in Iran. It just never seems to end and seems to get worse. I am not able at this time to sign the “Take Action” I have family that were involved in the protests and cannot jeopardize their getting out of Iran. I do sympathize with Jafar and his family and I know one day the TRUE VOICES of Iran will speak.

  49. Its emberassing whats happening,we are in 2011 and that country its still the same how can anyone live happy in a country like that.Please people its time to move on and face the realaty and let put the truth outside ,we should live free and respecting the others,

  50. Its emberassing whats happening,we are in 2011 and that country its still the same how can anyone live happy in a country like that.Please people its time to move on and face the realaty and let put the truth outside .

  51. Its emberassing whats happening,we are in 2011 and that country its still the same how can anyone live happy in a country like that.Please people its time to move on and face the realaty and let put the truth outside ,we should live free and respecting the others,

  52. Its emberassing whats happening,we are in 2011 and that country its still the same how can anyone live happy in a country like that.Please people its time to move on and face the realaty and let put the truth outside .