H-II: Apatow Supports National Society of Film Critics Statement On Jailed Iranian Directors

Artist H-II: Stephen Michael Apatow, Founder of the United Nations Arts Initiative supports the National Society of Film Critics Statement On Jailed Iranian Directors.
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Jan. 9, 2011 - PRLog -- The death of Neda Agha-Soltani, [1] blood gushing from her body as she died, was aired by media networks "In a Death Seen Around the World, a Symbol of Iranian Protests." [2]

Neda's death represented the starting point for intensive Human Rights Reporting, Evidence Collection and Witness Protection. [3, 4]  Today, 192 United Nations countries are now engaged in efforts to advance formal legal action for Crimes Against Humanity, [5,6] including Genocide within the country of Iran.

In the report " The Massacre of Political Prisoners in 1988" [7]  published by the Abdorraham Boroumand Foundation, [8] author Geoffrey Robertson QC finds that the state of Iran has committed four exceptionally serious breaches of jus cogens rules of international law which entail both state responsibility and individual accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity.  

Geoffrey Robertson QC [9] is founder and Head of Doughty Street Chambers, London. He has appeared in many countries as counsel in leading cases in constitutional, human rights, criminal and international law and served as the first President and Appeal Judge in the UN War Crimes Court in Sierra Leone, where he authored landmark decisions on the limits of amnesties, the illegality of recruiting child soldiers and other critical issues in the development of international criminal law. In 2008, he was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as one of the “distinguished jurist” members of the UN Internal Justice Council.

According to the Boston Globe article "Jailed Iranian filmmakers' works can still be seen — here," [10] we read:

During the “Green Revolution’’ of summer 2009 that followed Iran’s disputed presidential election, Panahi was arrested while attending the funeral of Neda Agha-Soltan, a peaceful protester whose murder was captured on videotape and seen by a global audience. No charges were specified; Panahi was released but banned from leaving the country. On March 1, 2010, Panahi [11] and Rasoulof [12] were arrested again and taken with family and friends to Tehran’s Evin Prison. An international outcry and petitions from dozens of filmmakers, including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and the Coen brothers, followed.

Last month, both men were convicted of “assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.’’ Essentially, they’re guilty of being filmmakers and of having a point of view. Both received six years in prison, but Panahi’s sentence carries an especially cruel codicil: He has been banned from making movies for 20 years.


On December 18, 2010, an Iranian court sentenced Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof to six years in prison and banned both from filmmaking for 20 years for “colluding in gatherings and making propaganda against the regime.”

The members of the National Society of Film Critics add their voices to those of the many other individuals and organizations who have protested this injustice. We strongly urge the Iranian government to release both artists, whose work can only further the advancement of such values as justice, compassion, tolerance, and human dignity. Jafar Panahi’s films in particular have won international awards, earned the accolades of critics all over the world, and delighted and inspired audiences everywhere they are shown.

Not only does the court’s decision impose an outrageous penalty on artists whose sole crime is telling the truth, but it deprives Iran and the world of future works by filmmakers of outstanding talent and vision.

We intend our protest to affirm the value of artistic expression and the power of cinema to transcend political differences and unite people in their common humanity. We hope that the Iranian government will recognize the wisdom of releasing Mr. Panahi and Mr. Rasoulof immediately in the name of these universal principles.

References: Full Release: http://www.unarts.org/H-II/ref/192011OHCHR.html

1. Death of Neda Agha-Soltan: Wickpedia.  
2.  In a Death Seen Around the World, a Symbol of Iranian Protests: New York Times, 22 June 2009.
3.  H-II: G-192 Human Rights Reporting - Evidence Collection - Witness Protection, Humanitarian Resource Institute Humanitarian Intervention Initiative, 23 June 2009.
4. H-II Iran: Humanitarian Intervention Initiative.
5. Iran: Crimes Against Humanity: New Legal Standard: Humanitarian Resource Institute, 4 January 2011.
6. Crimes Against Humanity: Religious Justification: Humanitarian Resource Institute, 7 January 2011.
7. The Massacre of Political Prisoners in 1988: Geoffrey Robertson QC, Abdorraham Boroumand Foundation.
8. Abdorraham Boroumand Foundation.
9. Geoffrey Robertson QC: Doughty Street Chambers.
10. Jailed Iranian filmmakers' works can still be seen — here: Boston Globe, 9 January 2011.
11.Jafar Panahi - IMDb.
12. Mohammad Rasoulof - IMDb.
13. Statement On jailed Iranian Directors: National Society Of Film Critics 2010 Awards & Statements, 8 January 2011.

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