Iranian Filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof Sentenced to Be Imprisoned for 8 Years and Flogged

Mohammad Rasoulof, the Iranian filmmaker who directed the Berlin Golden Bear winner “There Is No Evil,” has been sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran and will also be flogged, his lawyer, Babak Paknia said on Wednesday.

According to Paknia, Rasoulof received this sentence for involvement in films that are “examples of collusion with the intention of committing a crime against the country’s security,” and for public statements the country’s authoritarian regime objected to.

This comes after he was subjected to punitive scrutiny for his latest film, “The Seed of the Sacred Fig,” which will premiere at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival. Paknia has previously explained that Iranian authorities had pressured Rasoulof to remove the film from the festival competition, and that people involved with the film, including actors, were harassed and questioned by police.

It’s only the latest time the outspoken director has faced legal persecution in his home country, and the harshest sentence he’s yet received. In 2010, he was accused of filming without a permit and sentenced to six years in prison, though this was later reduced to a year.

In 2019, authorities objected to his film “A Man of Integrity” and sentenced him to a year in prison for “gathering and collusion against national security and of propaganda against the system.” This was later expanded to two years in prison.

Then in 2022, he was sent to prison again for criticizing Iranian security forces’ conduct in response to protests over a building that had collapsed in the city of Abadan. He was released after going on a hunger strike.

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