An award-winning Iranian filmmaker has been given a brutal sentence for his work, which examines “the travails of modern life and political expression in the Islamic Republic,” the AP reports. Because of his films, Keywan Karimi was sentenced to six years in prison and will receive 223 lashes, according to the report.
The sentence “follows similar punishments for other artists and journalists in Iran, even as its moderate government moves toward detente with the West over its contested nuclear program,” the story reports. “The case underscores both the murky limits of expression in Iran and the power hard-liners still maintain in the country.”
Karimi told the news organization: “I don’t know what happened that I should go to jail for six years. I speak about the government, I speak about society, I speak about (graffiti), I speak about a laborer. Watch my movies and … (then) judge me.”
A court reportedly sentenced Karimi on Saturday on charges of “insulting sanctities” in Iran.
“The footage involved both a ‘video clip’ and a film he directed called ‘Writing on the City,’ which focuses on political graffiti in Iran from its 1979 Islamic Revolution to its contested 2009 election,” the AP reports.
Karimi, who remains free for now, indicated that he will appeal.
“Karimi is perhaps best known by international film critics for his 2013 black-and-white minimalist film ‘The Adventure of the Married Couple,'” the report notes. “The short film, based on a story by Italian writer Italo Calvino, follows the grinding routine of a husband and wife working opposite shifts, she in a bottle factory and he at a mannequin store. Neither speaks; the only noise is the hum of the city they live in.”