Iran Filmmaker Panahi Gets Six Years in Jail

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Iranian filmmaker and vocal backer of the opposition movement, Jafar Panahi, has been sentenced to six years in jail and banned from making films and leaving Iran for 20 years. 

"Mr. Panahi has been sentenced to six years in jail on a charge of (participating) in a gathering and carrying out propaganda against the system," said Farideh Gheirat, Panahi’s lawyer.

"His social rights, which include a ban on making movies, writing scripts, foreign travel and giving interviews to domestic and foreign media, have been taken away for 20 years."

Panahi was arrested on March 1, before being released on bail. His arrest was protested by top international filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee and Oliver Stone and by several others.

Iranian officials said he was detained for making an "anti-regime" film about the unrest which shook Iran after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009.

Panahi is known for his socially critical movies such as the "Circle," which won the 2000 Venice Golden Lion award and "Offside," winner of the 2006 Silver Bear at the Berlin film festival.

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