About 17,000 members of the global film community have signed a petition calling on the Islamic Republic Judiciary to cancel the prison sentences of Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammd Rasoulof.
The Cannes Film Festival website reports that signatories include such prominent filmmakers as Francis Ford Coppola, Costa Gavras, David Cronenberg, Alejandro González Inarritu, David Lynch, Marjan Satrapi, Aki Kurismaki and Lars Von Trier.
The website condemns the “oppressive, shameful and intolerable” sentences issued against the Iranian filmmakers. It says the French-born campaign has quickly gained international scope and will continue to spread until Panahi and Rasoulof are freed and allowed to resume their filmmaking.
The petition, signed by 17,000 filmmakers and actors, will be submitted to the Islamic Republic embassy in France. It also demands that signatories be kept informed about the condition of the two Iranian filmmakers.
Panahi, who openly supported the protests that followed allegations of vote fraud in the 2009 presidential elections, has been charged with “assembly and collusion and propaganda against the regime” and sentenced to six years in prison and a 20-year ban from filmmaking and traveling abroad. Rasoulof has also been sentenced to six years in prison.
In February, the Berlin International Film Festival expressed its support for the two persecuted filmmakers. Panahi was prevented from traveling to the festival to fulfill his duties as a member of the jury.