|Jafar Panahi, Iranian director
APPEAL FOR JAFAR PANAHI
Appeal to the President of the Council of Ministers Silvio Berlusconi
We, the undersigned,
have for many years been aware of the repressive actions by the Iranian regime against dissident artists and intellectuals. This persecution has also struck Jafar Panahi, director of The Circle (which 2000 won the Gold Lion at Venice) and Red Gold. He was arrested in Tehran on March 1, 2010. The news was announced by his brother, Panah Panahi, who told opposition site Rahesabz that plain clothes agents raided the director's residence at 10 o'clock at night. The police also took away 15 guests who were in the director's house at the time. Panahi is a known supporter of the opposition and one of the most critical voices of president Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
Jafar Panahi was released in May 2010, and, on December 20, was sentenced to six years in prison on the charge of activities against the regime. The director was also prohibited from making films, writing any type of document, travelling abroad and talking with the local or foreign press for 20 years.
This grave act was perpetrated by the Iranian authorities as an intimidatory warning, so that noone documents the ferocious repression happening in the country. It represents the umpteenth episode of contempt for the International Convention for Human Rights, that even Iran has signed.
This also happens in Iran with regard to executions: the 2009 report by Iran Human Rights denounced the system of âarbitrary executions carried out to induce terror.â The pervasive anti-democratic and repressive attitude of all forms of expression against the regime by the Mullahs has its roots in the model of terror, whereby people are reduced to mere matter and adjust to it unconditionally.
When it comes to repressing freedom of expression, when there are people deprived of their individual freedoms simply because they try to give a voice to dissension through art, the civil world cannot stand by and watch. Wherever in the world this âcrimeâ is committed, silence and oblivion are the more serious sentences for whose who suffer under repression. We ask your immediate support and commitment to send a request to the Iranian authorities to free Panahi and allow him to continue to exercise his passion and profession as an unalienable right of being human. Â
Sign the appealÂ here