In 2010, an Iranian court sentenced Panahi to six years in prison and banned him from making movies or travelling abroad for 20 years after he was convicted of "propaganda against the system".
Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi will serve a six-year jail sentence after being arrested for criticising the government.
Iran’s judiciary has said that Panahi, who was arrested in Tehran last week, will have to serve a previously handed down sentence. Panahi was convicted of propaganda against the system in 2010, following his support for anti-government protests and a string of films that critiqued modern Iran. He was also barred from leaving the country and from making films. Panahi originally served two months in prison after his 2010 conviction before being granted a conditional and revocable release.
Panahi, who has won the top prizes at the Venice and Berlin film festivals, is one of three filmmakers arrested in Tehran in less than a week.
Panahi was detained on 11 July at the prosecutors’ office, which he visited along with lawyers and colleagues to ask about the well-being and whereabouts of fellow Iranian filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad, who had been detained three days before.
The other directors, Rasoulof and Aleahmad, were arrested after they used their social media accounts to condemn the Iranian state’s response to protests in May in the southwestern city of Abadan that formed after a building collapse.
Panahi’s 1995 film The White Balloon won the Camera d’Or at Cannes in 1995. He won the Golden Leopard at Locarno for The Mirror in 1997, then the Golden Lion at Venice for The Circle in 2000. Taxi won the Golden Bear at the 2015 Berlinale. His films have not been shown in Iran.
The arrests have been widely criticised by film bodies internationally.
The International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR) published an open letter on Friday (15 July) to protest against the wave of arrests among the film-making and artistic communities in Tehran.
The Cannes festival condemned the arrest of Iranian filmmakers and France last week called on Tehran to free them.