Speaking in Berlin, Markus Löning, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, today (22 December) issued the following statement on the sentencing of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi:
“The six-year prison sentence passed on Jafar Panahi is outrageous. The fact that he has also been banned from making films and from travelling abroad means that he is at the same time being robbed both of his livelihood and of his civil and political rights. That is utterly unacceptable.
But it is also alarming because Jafar Panahi’s films in recent years have given many people throughout the world an insight into Iranian society and have thus made a crucial contribution to intercultural dialogue.
Iran must, at long last, respect the fundamental human and civil rights to which it has committed itself and lift the sentence on Jafar Panahi.”
Jafar Panahi was arrested in March while working on a film critical of the controversial 2009 presidential elections in Iran. He is accused among other things of spreading “propaganda against the Iranian system”.
Panahi has received many international awards and has already been invited to participate in the 61st Berlin International Film Festival in 2011.
Iran has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.