Iran’s judiciary will decide on Friday whether to release famous filmmaker Jafar Panahi after the Supreme Court overturned his conviction, his lawyer said on Saturday.
Panahi, 62, who won a series of awards at European film festivals, was arrested on July 11 and had to serve a six-year sentence handed down in 2010 after being convicted for ” propaganda against the system”.
But on October 15, the High Court dismissed the charge and ordered a retrial.
“This morning, court officials said they will make a decision about Panahi at the end of the week,” his lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, told AFP.
“Panahi’s case has been pending before the court since mid-October, but it was finally sent to the Court of Appeal on Monday to begin legal proceedings.
“According to the law, he should be released immediately and his case reviewed,” said the lawyer.
Panahi won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2000 for his film “The Circle”. In 2015, he won the Golden Bear in Berlin for “Taxi Tehran”, and in 2018, he won the best screenplay award in Cannes for “Three Faces”.
Panahi’s conviction followed his support for the mass protests in 2009 against the disputed results of that year’s presidential election in which the populist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a second seat.
In addition to the 6-year probation, the court also sentenced Panahi for 20 years, prohibiting him from directing or writing films, travel or talk to the media. However, he continues to live and work in Iran.
According to his lawyer, Panahi had been suffering from health problems before his arrest and suffered a serious illness in prison.
Doctors said he should be treated “outside prison”, the lawyer added.
Panahi’s arrest in July came after he attended a trial for film director Mohammad Rasoulof, who was arrested a few days earlier.
Rasoulof was released from prison on January 7 after being granted a two-week break for health reasons, his lawyer told AFP.
Separately, the court ordered the release on bail of Arash Sadeghi, who was detained during the mass protests in October against the death in prison of Masha Amini after He was arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s women’s law, Etemad newspaper reported.