An Iranian appeals court sentenced filmmaker Keywan Karimi to one year in prison, 223 lashes and a fine for “shaking hands with women and drinking alcoholic drinks”, Reuters reported on 22 February 2016.
In an interview with The Times of India published on 23 February 2016, Karimi said he would serve out the sentence and continue to make films, and noted that he is the only person in Iran to have received the maximum punishment of 223 lashes.
“I have no intention of leaving the country and shall serve the sentence. We can only hope to delay the process of going to jail,” he said.
The filmmaker is in the process of finishing his latest film based on an Iranian story book and hopes to complete shooting in the coming weeks and plans to start editing.
When asked if he would change his style of film-making, Karimi said: “No, after this sentence I believe that my way is right. Even when I am in prison, I shall make films there.”
Karimi, who is from a Kurdish background, was originally charged in October 2015 with a six-year prison sentence and 223 lashes on charges of “insulting the sacred”, “spreading propaganda against the regime” and “illicit relations”. That sentencing came after nearly two years of hearings following his arrest in December 2013 for those same charges.
Karimi’s sentencing and that of several artists, journalists and others, including three poets, two writers and three founders of a music website, comes in the run up to the February 2016 elections wherein Iran will simultaneously elect parliamentary and Assembly of Experts members. The Assembly of Experts holds the responsibility of electing and removing the Supreme Leader of Iran.
» The Times of India – 23 February 2016:
Keywan Karimi: I am not scared of the 223 lashes
» Journalismisnotacrime.com – 23 February 2016:
Appeals court gives filmmaker one-year sentence, 223 lashes
» Reuters – 22 February 2016:
Iranian film-maker loses appeal amid pre-vote crackdown
» Artsfreedom.org – 4 November 2015:
Iran: Filmmaker sentenced to six-year prison term and 223 lashes