Rasoulof was sentenced to eight years in prison and flogging


The Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof has been sentenced to eight years in prison, flogging, a fine and the confiscation of property, his lawyer has confirmed.
Rasoulof, 52, is one of Iran’s leading directors, whose latest film, The Seed of the Sacred Fig, is due to premiere at the Cannes film festival next week.
Since its inclusion was announced last month, the director and the festival had come under considerable pressure from Iranian authorities to pull the film from competition.
In 2010, he was sentenced to six years in prison, later reduced to one year, after an accusation of filming without the correct permit.
In 2017, he was in effect banned from leaving the country after his passport was confiscated on his return to Iran.
Two years later, the Islamic revolutionary court sentenced him to a one year prison term and a two-year ban on leaving the country and any participation in social or political activity.
He was released the following February for health reasons, but barred from attending the Cannes film festival, where he was due to serve as a member of the Un Certain Regard jury.
Of these, Panahi had previously been the most consistently persecuted by the Iranian state, the subject of numerous imprisonments and house arrests.


Mohammad Rasoulof, an Iranian director, has been sentenced to eight years in prison, flogging, a fine, and property confiscation, according to confirmation from his attorney.

Human rights attorney Babak Paknia, who was defending Rasoulof in X, wrote that the case had been forward for enforcement after an appeals court upheld the verdict.

He went on to say that Rasoulof’s public comments and his ongoing participation in documentaries and movies that the court had deemed to be “examples of collusion with the intention of committing a crime against the country’s security” were the main factors behind the punishment.

The 52-year-old Rasoulof is one of Iran’s most prominent directors, and his most recent picture, The Seed of the Sacred Fig, will make its Cannes debut the following week. Iranian officials have put a lot of pressure on the festival and the director to remove the movie from competition since it was announced last month.

Paknia has previously reported on X. The film’s producers reported harassment by the state police, and the actors were prevented from leaving the country and summoned for questioning.

Paknia sent an email confirming the most recent events, adding: “He is accused of making [The Seed of the Sacred Fig] without obtaining a license from the related authorities, along with accusations that the actresses were not properly donning the hijab and were not photographed wearing it. The Ministry of Intelligence’s security services have looked into all of the main characters in the movie and have banned them from leaving the nation. “.

This sentence, which was given to the director on Wednesday, is the worst one yet. He was accused of filming without the proper permission in 2010, and as a result, his sentence of six years in prison was later reduced to one year. After his passport was seized upon his return to Iran in 2017, he was effectively prohibited from leaving the nation.

He was given a one-year prison sentence and a two-year ban on leaving the nation and engaging in any social or political activities by the Islamic revolutionary court, which heard the case two years later. His drama A Man of Integrity, which won the Un Certain Regard sidebar at Cannes in 2017, about widespread corruption in Iran, served as the impetus for this.

He was sentenced to an additional year in prison and a two-year ban from making films for “propaganda against the system” in 2020. As a result, he was unable to attend the Berlin Film Festival in February 2020, where his dramatization of the death penalty in Iran, There Is No Evil, took home the top prize, the Golden Bear.

In July 2022, Rasoulof was imprisoned once more after he posted an appeal on social media asking Iranian security forces to desist from using force during protests that were sparked by a building collapse in the southwest city of Abadan. For health reasons, he was freed the following February, but he was not allowed to go to the Cannes film festival, where he was scheduled to be a member of the Un Certain Regard jury.

The critical praise that Rasoulof’s films receive outside of Iran is comparable to that of his fellow countrymen Abbas Kiarostami, Asghar Farhadi, and Jafar Panahi. Panahi was the one who had previously been the target of the Iranian government’s most persistent persecution, suffering from multiple detentions and house arrests.

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