Do Not Jail Iranian Filmmaker

640px-A_Cell - aliven sarkar

Target: Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, Head of the Judiciary

Goal: Release Iranian filmmaker facing a number of ill-defined charges.

Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi has been arrested and sentenced to six years in prison and 223 lashes for a number of charges. His trial has not allowed him a fair opportunity to address the accusations against him, and the charges have been arbitrarily changed during the trial, preventing him from mounting an adequate defense.

Karimi was charged with “spreading propaganda against the system” in connection with his film Neveshtan Rooye Shahr (Writing on the City). The film has not been publicly released, except for a trailer posted on YouTube. He was also charged with “illicit relations falling short of adultery” for shaking hands and “being under one roof” with a woman “who had not covered her head and neck.” In the final stage of his trial, however, he was convicted of “insulting Islamic sanctities,” a previously unmentioned charge, and the propaganda charge was not mentioned at all. Karimi’s six-year sentence was handed down as a result of the last-minute “insulting Islamic sanctities” charge.

It is impossible to defend oneself against secret charges, and the number of irregularities in Karimi’s trial–his lawyer, for instance, was not allowed adequate time to present Karimi’s defense–make it imperative that the charges and sentence be thrown out. Sign the petition and demand that Karimi be released immediately.

PETITION LETTER:

Your Excellency,

I am writing to demand the immediate release of Keywan Karimi, a filmmaker sentenced to six years in prison and 223 lashes. The charges against him are arbitrary and his trial has been plagued by numerous irregularities and fair trial violations. I demand that the charges against him be dropped and that he be freed immediately.

Karimi was charged with “spreading propaganda against the system” in relation to his 2012 film Neveshtan Rooye Shahr. However, in the final stage of his trial, that charge was inexplicably abandoned and replaced with the charge of “insulting Islamic sanctities” after authorities found a music video clip on Karimi’s computer. Karimi was convicted of the charge without being offered the opportunity to defend himself, a clear and disgusting violation of international fair trial standards.

Karimi was also charged with “illicit relations falling short of adultery” for shaking hands and “being under one roof” with a woman “who had not covered her head and neck.” The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is state party, guarantees the right to privacy, a right clearly violated by this charge.

Keywan Karimi has done nothing wrong and is being unnecessarily persecuted. I demand that he be freed immediately.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Aliven Sarkar

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