An Iranian appeals court sentenced filmmaker Keywan Karimi to one year in prison for “insulting sanctities” on Monday, reducing his initial sentence of six years. The sentence resulted from Karimi’s film focusing on political graffiti [AP report] in Iran since the 1979 Revolution. Iran has recently cracked down on freedom of expression, harshly punishing journalists and poets. Citizens have been forced to flee the country in order to avoid unjust prison sentences. In June, one cartoonist was sentenced to nearly 13 years for depicting Iranian parliament members as animals to criticize a draft law. Karimi plans to remain in the country and serve his jail sentence.
The human rights conditions of journalist and others activists in Iran have continued to be an matter of concern for the UN and worldwide. The Iranian Revolutionary Court [BBC backgrounder] in October convicted [JURIST report] Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian [advocacy website], approximately two months after the end of his trial. Rezaian was accused of espionage [JURIST report] for allegedly collecting confidential information, handing it to hostile governments and acting against national security. He was released in a prisoner exchange [JURIST report] in January. The UN has urged [press release] Iran to to cease arresting, prosecuting and harassing individuals and to promote freedom of expression.