March 29, 2023


Today's News Headlines, Breaking News & Latest News from India and World, News from Politics, Sports, Business, Arts and Entertainment

Iranian director Zafar Panahi is awaiting a court ruling on his release from prison

2 min read

A verdict on Zafar Panahi’s release from Tehran’s Evin prison is believed to be imminent now that Iran’s highest court has overturned the conviction that led to the imprisonment last year of the auteur, considered one of the greatest living masters of Iranian cinema.

Panahi’s wife, Tahreh Saidi, launched an appeal on Instagram after her lawyers successfully overturned the six-year sentence handed down against the director in 2010 for “slander against the system”. That sentence has become obsolete due to the country’s 10-year statute of limitations. Panahi’s case has now been referred to Iran’s appeals court.

“Last week we were informed that Zafar would be out in a week,” Saidi said in a plea posted on Instagram this week. However, “a week has passed and Zafar is still not with us,” he continued to lament.

Panahi’s lawyer, Saleh Nikhbakht, told French news agency AFP that according to Iranian law, “he should be released on bail immediately and his case should be reviewed again.” But the director’s wife and others in Iran’s film community fear that Iranian security forces will force the judiciary to imprison him.

“Jafar’s release is entirely according to their own law,” Saidi noted in the appeal. “But they are [Iranian authorities] Above the law; Without any respect for the law,” he said.

Panhi, 62, known worldwide for award-winning works such as “The Circle,” “Offside,” “This Is Not a Film,” “Taxi,” and most recently “No Bears,” was last year’s Venice Special Jury Prize winner. He was arrested in Tehran last July in the wake of a crackdown by the country’s conservative government. Panahi went to Tehran’s prosecutor’s office to follow up on the situation of fellow dissident filmmaker Mohammad Rasulov, who was jailed days earlier after appealing against police violence.

On January 7, Rasulov was granted a two-week release on health grounds, his lawyer told AFP. Panahi’s lawyer also said that Panahi, while incarcerated in Tehran’s Evin prison for political prisoners, developed a skin disease that required treatment at a hospital outside the prison.

Rasulov and Panahi were jailed before a wave of protests erupted in September over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in custody for allegedly wearing a loose hijab. The protests have resulted in over 500 civilians killed by government security forces and over 100 members of the Iranian film industry arrested or banned from making films.

On Jan. 4, Iranian authorities released Taraneh Alidusti, the star of Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning film “The Salesman,” nearly three weeks after jailing her for her harsh criticism of anti-government protests.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *