Reports are coming in throughout the world indicating that Iranian film director Jafar Panahi has been convicted to six years in prison in his native country, a sentence extended by the additional punishment of being banned from directing or producing films for the next twenty years, according to his lawyer. Fellow filmmaker Muhammad Rasoulof, who was arrested with Panahi in a 2009 mourning ceremony for deceased victims of the Iranian election protests, also received a six-year sentence.
Panahi is one of the leading auteurs of the contemporary cinema. His films have enjoyed overwhelming critical success. "The Lion" won five of the most prestigious awards at the 2000 Venice Film Festival, including the Golden Lion. His films "The White Balloon" and "Crimson Gold" won the 1995 Golden Camera and 2003 Un Certain Regard Jury Prize, respectively, at the Cannes Film Festival. The Berlin International Film Festival, where Panahi was recently invited to participate as a jury member, awarded the director's "Offside" with the 2006 Silver Bear. He was unable to participate as a jury member at this year's Cannes Film Festival because of his recent incarceration.
For more details, read The Guardian's coverage of the affair.