Iranian helmer taking case to Supreme Court

A Tehran appeals court has upheld a six-year jail sentence against Jafar Panahi as well as a 20-year filmmaking and travel ban on the Iranian helmer, local state media reported.

Panahi, is at home in Tehran, pending the execution of the jail sentence.

His lawyer, Farideh Ghairat, was quoted Monday by the Tehran Times as saying that she will appeal to Iran’s Supreme Court.

Panahi has not received official notification of the sentence, which he and Ghairat learned of through local media.

The filmmaker was arrested in March 2010 and incarcerated when authorities objected to a documentary he was said to be making about the disputed 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He’s known for other films critical of the regime, including “The Circle” and “Offside.”

After going on a hunger strike, Panahi was released in May 2010 on $200,000 bail pending the court hearing. In January he was convicted on charges of working against the regime and sentenced, but he remained at home on bail pending the appeal.

In the same appeal, a six-year jail sentence against fellow helmer, Mohammad Rasoulof, who co-directed the disputed docu with Panahi, was reduced to one year.

The international filmmaking community, which took up Panahi’s cause, sending petitions and appeals to Tehran, have yet to react to this latest news.

Panahi’s “This Is Not a Film,” depicting a day in his life at home as he waited to hear the verdict from the appeal, was screened at Cannes in May after being smuggled out of the country and, more recently, at the Toronto and New York fests.

In September Iranian authorities blocked helmer Mojtaba Mirtahmasb — who co-helmed “This Is Not a Film” with Panahi — at Tehran Airport, en-route to Toronto via Paris, and pulled his passport.Since June about a dozen Iranian directors and actors have been arrested and accused of propaganda against the regime. Many have been jailed or prevented from leaving the country.

Earlier this month, Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr was sentenced to a year in jail and 90 lashes for her role in Australian-Iranian helmer Granaz Moussavi’s “My Tehran for Sale,” in which she plays a young woman seeking artistic and sexual freedom.

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