Jafar Panahi, the critically acclaimed filmmaker of “Taxi” and “Three Faces,” has been ordered by the Iranian judicial authorities to serve the six-year sentence he was given in 2010.
Panahi was arrested last week in Tehran after going to Evin prison to ask about another filmmaker who was being detained. Panahi’s wife, Tahereh Saeedi, told BBC Persian that he was imprisoned without due process, which was the same as a kidnapping.
“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,” Saeedi told BBC Persian.
Along with Panahi, two other prominent filmmakers were arrested earlier this month and are currently being detained in Iran: Mostafa Aleahmad and Mohammad Rasoulof, whose latest film “There Is No Evil” won the Golden Bear at Berlin in 202O. Those two directors were arrested for social media posts about the collapse of a building which killed more than 40 people, according to the BBC.
“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,” judiciary spokesman Massoud Setayeshi told reporters on Tuesday.
Accused of conducting anti-government activity, the celebrated filmmaker has directed several politically-minded movies depicting the corruption in contemporary Iran. He won the Golden Bear at Berlin with Taxi in 2015, and won best screenplay at Cannes with “Three Faces” in 2018.
He was arrested in 2010 for supporting protests which sparked in the wake of the presidential election and was sentenced to six years in prison for “propaganda against the system.” He was also banned from making movies and travelling outside Iran for 20 years. He served two months before being released on conditional bail, according to the news agency AFP.