Wednesday, 29 December 2010


Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, Head of the Judiciary

This is a dark period for Iranian culture and world cinema. We, the undersigned, wish to express our sadness and anger at the harsh sentences imposed on filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof by the Iranian Government on Monday. We are outraged to learn that the directors are both given six-year of imprisonment without remission, accompanied by a ban of twenty years on writing and making films, giving interviews to the press, leaving the territory, or communicating with foreign cultural organisations.
Mr Panahi and Mr Rasoulof are innocent. They are gifted Iranian artists and creative souls whose passion lies in making films. We urge you to overturn the harsh sentences. We condemn this act of deprivation of freedom to express and violation of basic human rights. The right to freedom of expression through art and peaceful political activism is guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party. 

We call on the government of Iran to release immediately Mr Panahi and Mr Rasoulof and drop all charges brought against them.

Pablo Ganguli, Liberatum founder
Robert A. F. Thurman, Professor of Religion, Columbia University
Daphne Guinness
Lily Cole
Indra Sinha, Booker nominated author
Amanda Eliasch

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