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Iranian director Jaafar Panahi leaves his country 14 years after he was banned from traveling

Iranian director Jaafar Panahi, who was released in February, left his country for the first time since a travel ban was imposed on him nearly 14 years ago on a visit to France, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Panahi, 62, is considered one of the most prominent names in cinema Iranian contemporary. After his arrest in July 2022, the judiciary confirmed his imprisonment, to serve a sentence issued against him more than a decade ago. He was released on bail on the third of February.

I knew about Panahi, his opposition to the authorities. The judiciary convicted him in 2010 of “propaganda against the political system” of the Islamic Republic, and he was sentenced to six years in prison, banned from directing or writing films for a long time, or traveling and speaking to the media, following his support for the protest movements that followed the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. in the year 2009.

“After serving his sentence, Panahi was allowed to leave the country, and his passport was returned to him,” lawyer Saleh Nikbakht told AFP.

And the director’s wife published on her Instagram page, on Tuesday evening, a picture of her gathering with Banahee at an airport, and signs of joy and relief appeared on her face.

Nikbakht confirmed that the director traveled to France to visit his daughter, who lives there, without indicating the duration of the visit.

Panahi’s release came in February, two days after he began a hunger strike to protest the conditions of his detention.

His defense attorney said, “As far as I know, there are no more judicial files against him.”

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Panahi is considered one of the most prominent Iranian directors, and he won several international awards, the most important of which is the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Festival in 2000 for the movie “The Circle”, and the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival in 2015 for “Tehran Taxi”, and he shares the Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Festival. Film Festival in 2018 for his movie “Three Faces”.

France 24/AFP