Jafar Panahi has been sentenced by Iranian officials to serve a 6 year sentence levied upon him in 2010. This decision comes after the acclaimed filmmaker was arrested in Tehran last week for inquiring into the arrests of two other prominent Iranian filmmakers, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad. According to Panahi’s wife, Tahereh Saeedi, he was arrested and imprisoned without due process according to her statement given to BBC Persia:
“Jafar has some rights as a citizen. There’s due process. To imprison someone, they need to be summoned first. But to imprison someone who is protesting outside the jail raises a lot of questions. This is a kidnapping.”
The Iranian New Wave auteur’s arrest is just the latest in a series of purges at the hands of the Iranian government. Shortly before Panache’s arrest, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad were arrested for criticizing Iranian officials for their handling of national protests surrounding a building collapse which killed 40 people. The 2 directors had posted these statements on social media, which marks a disturbing example of state censorship.
As for the official reasoning surrounding Panache’s arrest, in 2010 Panahi had been arrested for taking part in protests surrounding the presidential election in Iran. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison and was barred from making films and leaving Iran for 20 years. He served 2 months in jail, before being released on conditional bail.
“Panahi had been sentenced in 2010 to a total of six years in prison… and therefore he was taken into the detention centre of Evin to serve his sentence there,” said judiciary spokesman Massoud Setayeshi in a statement to reporters on Tuesday.