#Human Rights
Brisbane International Film Festival

Amnesty International 2011 Iran Report Summary

Authorities maintained severe restrictions on freedom of expression, association & assembly.

Sweeping controls on domestic & international media aimed at reducing Iranians’ contact with the world were imposed.

Individuals & groups risked arrest, torture & imprisonment if perceived as co-operating with human rights & foreign-based Persian-language media organizations.

Political dissidents, women’s & minority rights activists & human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists & students were arrested & hundreds were imprisoned. Torture & other ill-treatment of detainees were routine & committed with impunity.

Women continued to face discrimination under the law & in practice.

Authorities acknowledged 252 executions; credible reports indicate >300. Juvenile offenders executed. Sentences of death by stoning continued to be passed. Floggings & an increased number of amputations were carried out.

To: Honourable Ms Rachel Nolan, Minister for the Arts

Brisbane International Film Festival to Champion Iranian Artists,
Human Rights and Freedom of Expression.

Dear Minister,

During the past two decades, many distinguished Iranian movies, created under the most difficult and restrictive conditions. have contributed to the success of Brisbane International Film Festival.

BIFF will screen two Iranian films this year:-

• “This is Not a Film” by Jafar Panahi; and

• “Goodbye” by Mohammad Rasoulof.
The directors of both these films are currently victims of The Judiciary of Islamic Republic of Iran.

• The arrest and detention of film makers illustrates the Iranian authorities’ determination to stifle any form of dissent. Amnesty International considers all these filmmakers to be prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression in their work. The right to freedom of expression includes the “freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media”.

• Three documentary directors - Hadi Afarideh, Naser Saffarian, Mohsen Shahrnazdar ; and producer and distributor, Katayoun Shahabi were arrested on 17 September 2011. All four are believed to have sold their films to a variety of broadcasters, including the BBC’s Persian service. Three of the group - Hadi Afarideh, Naser Saffarian and Mohsen Shahrnazdar- have since been released on bail, but Katayoun Shahabi is thought to remain in custody in Tehran Evin Prison.

Panahi was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment in December 2010 after being convicted of “acting against state security”” and “propaganda against the system”. He was banned from travelling abroad and talking to domestic or international media Jafar Panahi was temporally released from detention when Juliet Binoche protested against his imprisonment in 2010 Cannes Festival. He lost an appeal against the 6 year sentence in late October 2011.

Internationally celebrated director, Mohammad Rasoulof was given a six year jail term at the same time as Panahi after being convicted on similar charges. He later had his sentence reduced to one year on appeal. A travel ban against him was lifted in May this year. He is effectively under “house arrest”.

Dear Minister, as Iranian-Australians, and other people of conscience, we know first hand that Iranian authorities have no regard for international law, justice and human rights. They do respond to international pressure. This is why we ask you to take advantage of the BIFF international stage and declare your and Queensland’s support for freedom of expression in Iran.

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The Film-Making Is Not a Crime, Free Iranian Artists petition to Brisbane International Film Festival was written by Mehran Rafiei and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.