Berlin sharply condemns Iran filmmaker Panahi's sentence

17th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Berlin on Monday sharply condemned Iran's sentencing to six years in jail of international award-winning Iranian film director Jafar Panahi, saying this was "politically-motivated".

"Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle calls on the Iranian authorities to immediately lift the sentence against Jafar Panahi and observe basic human rights which it has pledged to respect," German foreign ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke told a regular news conference.

"This obviously politically-motivated sentence is typical of many such cases in Iran and shows in an especially shocking way how freedom of expression is curtailed and how freelance artists are prosecuted and jailed," Peschke added.

An appeals court last week confirmed the prison sentence passed on Panahi for trying to make a documentary about the unrest that followed the disputed 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Panahi was also handed a 20-year filmmaking and travel ban.

Panahi, 51, has won a slew of foreign awards for his films. But many are banned in Iran where authorities are unhappy with his satirical portrayal of everyday life in the Islamic republic.

© 2011 AFP

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