Mr. Jafar Panahi, the celebrated Iranian film director and winner of many international awards, has been sentenced to six years in prison by an Islamic court in Iran for trumped up charges of making misleading statements about human rights in Iran. In addition, Mr. Panahi has been barred from filmmaking, writing scripts and foreign travel for the next 20 years.
From the perspective of basic human rights the sentence is harsh and inhumane even by the Islamic Republic’s standards.
Mr. Panahi, whose film “Crimson Gold” was banned in Iran for criticizing the rule of the mullahs, has used his public recognition to defend the freedom of expression, and has been a vocal voice in condemning abuses of power by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The current government of Iran, which has a well-established record of mistreating its prisoners, is also known for its tyrannical abomination of a justice system. It is no secret that prominent detainees are coerced into making false public confessions. In view of the existing circumstances, I hope that you will be able to intercede on Mr. Panahi’s behalf and to ask for his immediate release based on humanitarian grounds.
I thank Your Excellency for your kind and personal attention to this matter. Yours sincerely, Farah Pahlavi