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Acclaimed Filmmaker Sentenced To Prison In Iran

In 2006, Iranian director Jafar Panahi won a Silver Bear award at the 56th Berlinale International Film Festival. Arnd Wiegmann/AP hide caption

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Arnd Wiegmann/AP

In 2006, Iranian director Jafar Panahi won a Silver Bear award at the 56th Berlinale International Film Festival.

Arnd Wiegmann/AP

Iran has sentenced award-winning filmmaker Jafar Panahi to six years in prison Monday for standing in opposition to the ruling system, his lawyer said.

In addition, Panahi was banned from making films or traveling abroad for 20 years. Mohammad Rasulov, another opposition filmmaker, was also sentenced to six years in prison.

Lawyers for both men said they would appeal the sentences.

Panahi, 49, and Rasulov both supported Mir Hossein Mousavi in last June's contested presidential election against incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"This is a catastrophe for Iran's cinema," Professor Hamid Dabashi of Columbia University tells The Guardian in a story about the sentencing. He goes on to say that the sentencing is a blow to the entire arts community in Iran:

"Iran is sending a clear message by this sentence that they don't have any tolerance and can't bear arts, philosophy or anything like that. This is a sentence against the whole culture of Iran. They want the artists to sit at their houses and stop creating art. This is a catastrophe for a whole nation."