Iranian authorities are denying filmmaker Keywan Karimi his basic prisoner rights, including family visitation and access to a bed in his prison cell. Mr. Karimi is currently detained in Evin Prison’s quarantine ward.
Keywan Karimi was arrested by Iranian authorities on November 23 at the execution of sentences office in Evin Prison. He had reported to the office after receiving a summons order by phone earlier that day. Mr. Karimi is sentenced to a one-year prison term and 223 lashes.
“Keywan is still being held in the quarantine ward where he is not allowed prison visits…He is deprived of a bed and access to the prison yard, library, or sports,” says a relative.
Keywan Karimi was initially sentenced to six years and 223 lashes on the charges of “Propaganda against the system” and “Insulting Islamic sanctities“ for his documentary Neveshtan Rooye Shahr (Writing on the City) about graffiti in the streets of Tehran. In an appeals court hearing, his prison sentence was reduced to one year and five years of suspended imprisonment, confirms HRANA.
Keywan was first arrested at his house in November following the release of his documentary’s trailer on YouTube. Prior to his arrest, Mr. Karimi had told Reuters that he had no intentions of leaving Iran and would serve his sentence. Iranian authorities released him on bail after making him endure 12 days in solitary confinement in Evin Prison.
Several groups have released statements in objection to Mr. Karimi’s prison conviction and lashing sentence. Some of these groups include: The National Association for directors, screenwriters, actors and filmmakers in France and Italy, the National Association of Italian Journalists and Film Critics, and a group of 45 European Union Parliament members.
The Punto de Vista international documentary film festival ran a campaign in support of Keywan Karimi and called on world renowned directors to record a video message to help create a short film titled “223 Words”, to protest Mr. Karimi’s 223 lashing sentence. Mr. Karimi has also received support and condemnation of his sentence from the Cannes Film Festival and the Vienna (Viennale) International Film Festival.
Keywan Karimi is a renowned independent Iranian filmmaker who won the best documentary short prize for his film “The Broken Border” at the 2013 Beirut International Film Festival. His film “The Adventures of a Married Couple” was screened at Freiburg, San Sebastián and Zurich film festivals. His film “Tabl” (Drum) first premiered at the Venice Film Festival.