Iranian filmmaker jailed for a year over graffiti documentary
Iranian authorities have sentenced filmmaker Keywan Karimi to one year in prison and 223 lashes after finding him guilty of "insulting sanctities." The charges stem from his documentary on political graffiti in Iran.
Filmmaker Keywan Karimi (photo left) has begun serving a year-long prison sentence over a documentary he directed on political graffiti in Iran, his French production company Les Films de l'Apres-Midi confirmed on Thursday.
The 31-year-old filmmaker ran into trouble with Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards over a film he directed called "Writing on the City." The documentary details the history of political graffiti in Iran, starting from the country's 1979 Islamic revolution to its contested election in 2009.
He spent 15 days in solitary confinement in 2013 when a trailer for "Writing on the City" appeared on YouTube. At the time he was accused of making "propaganda against the regime" and "insulting religious values."
Since his initial arrest, Karimi has also been charged with having extramarital affairs, drinking alcohol and making pornography, Karimi told news agency AFP in May, adding that the charges are "ridiculous."
Initially, the filmmaker was found guilty of "insulting sanctities" in October 2015 and was sentenced to six years behind bars. An appeals court reduced his sentence in February, after international outcry which included the support of acclaimed Iranian directors Jafar Panahi and Mohsen Makhmalbaf.
Five of the six years were suspended, but the court maintained the original sentence requirement that Karimi endure 223 lashes.
Karimi told the Associated Press earlier this week that he hopes to use his time in jail to finish the script for his next movie.
"Be sure, I'm strong. Inside, and mentally, I'm ready," he said, adding that he is determined to stay in Iran despite challenges.
He is one of several journalists, artists, poets and fashion models who have been arrested in a crackdown led by hard-liners who oppose President Hassan Rouhani's more moderate policies.
"I am not a political activist," Karimi told news agency AFP in a May interview. "I am not being sent to prison because I oppose the regime but because I am a filmmaker."
Karimi's first feature film "Drum" premiered this summer at the Venice International Film Festival.
rs/cmk (AP, AFP)
An employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, she has been in jail since April, 2016. She has both British and Iranian citizenship, and wanted to visit family in Iran with her two-year-old daughter. She is accused of participating in efforts "to cause the soft toppling of the Islamic Republic." Her foundation, which educates journalists worldwide, has called the allegations groundless.
Zahra Rahnavard, wife of opposition politician Mir Hossein Mousavi, is perhaps the most well-known of Iran's female political prisoners. After the disputed presidential elections in 2009, she backed her husband. The sculptor and academic has been under house arrest with her husband since February 2011 without charges.
Narges Mohammadi is a human rights activist. In May, 2016 she was sentenced to 16 years in prison, although her work is seen as peaceful. At the end of June, she began a hunger strike after authorities restricted telephone contact with her young son and daughter. After 20 days on hunger strike, she was granted permission to speak once a week with her children.
The Canadan-Irish-Iranian anthropologist Homa Hoodfar has been jailed at Tehran's Evin Prison since June 6, 2016. The renowned academic was arrested during a private visit to Iran. She had planned to research women in Iranian politics. She was accused of creating security problems in the Islamic Republic by taking part in feminist activities.
Bahareh Hedayat is a women's rights activist and prominent figure in the student movement in Iran. In 2010, shortly before her wedding, she was arrested and ultimately sentenced to 10 years in prison. She was head of an organization fighting for political reforms and against human rights violations.
The political journalist has been arrested many times, most recently in January 2016. Reyhaneh Tabatabaei was accused of "propaganda against the state." She supported reform activists. Tabatabaei was sentenced to a year in prison and was handed a two-year employment ban. The Revolutionary Court also prohibited her from participating in any political activities for two years.
After eight years behind bars, Fariba Kamalabadi (third from right) was granted temporary release in May. Until 2008, she was one of Iran's leading Baha'i figures. She was sentenced to 20 years for her religious beliefs. While on release she visited Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former president Ali Akbar Rafsanjani. Several grand ayatollahs denounced the visit as a "betrayal of Islam."