French minister slams Iranian filmmaker's jail sentence

20th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand Monday slammed Iran over the jailing of filmmaker and vocal opposition backer Jafar Panahi for six years and called for his release.

Mitterrand noted "with indignation the pseudo-judgment ... which totally prevents him from expressing his talent," and described it as an "unacceptable attack on his freedom of expression".

Panahi was arrested on March 1 along with his wife, daughter and several others at his home. Most of those arrested were subsequently released. He was freed on a bail of around 200,000 dollars in May.

Soon after his arrest, Iranian officials said he was detained for making an "anti-regime" film about the unrest which rocked Iran after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009.

"His social rights, which include a ban on making movies, writing scripts, foreign travel and giving interviews to domestic and foreign media, have been taken away for 20 years," Panahi's lawyer Farideh Gheirat told ISNA news agency, adding she would appeal.

Panahi is known for his gritty, socially critical movies such as the "Circle," which bagged the 2000 Venice Golden Lion award, "Crimson Gold," and "Offside," winner of the 2006 Silver Bear at the Berlin film festival.

© 2010 AFP

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