In an Instagram post, Tahereh Saeedi outlined a legal case for her husband’s release from prison.
Jafar Panahi remains in an Iranian prison serving a six-year sentence for his investigations into the arrest of filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad. The international film community overwhelmingly condemned his incarceration as unjust, and the director was able to speak to the world with statements as his latest film, No Bears, toured the 2022 fall festival circuit.
With “No Bears” no longer making headlines, updates on Panahi’s incarceration have become few and far between. However, his wife Tahereh Saeedi recently explained on her private Instagram account that her lawyers believe his imprisonment violates Iranian law because the statute of limitations on the charges has expired.
“A year ago it was 10 years since Jafar’s 6-year prison sentence and we thought Jafar would not go back to prison,” Saeedi wrote. “According to the same law under which he was convicted, a sentence not carried out within 10 years becomes barred. But on July 11, his birthday, I found out that he was jailed in the name of a sentence passed 11 years ago.”
He continued to question the legality of Panahi’s imprisonment, explaining that his lawyers had previously convinced Iran’s Supreme Court that the sentence was illegal.
“We forgot why we were happy… Until the day Mr. Amir-Salar Davoodi, a human rights lawyer and his cellmate in Evin prison, reminded him of this law in all its details,” he wrote. “Saleh Nikhbakht and Youssef Molayi, Jafar’s lawyers, tirelessly advocated Jafar’s case with irrefutable arguments and convinced the Supreme Court of Jafar’s innocence and overturning the outdated verdict.”
“Therefore, the Supreme Court acquitted him and his case was transferred to the Revolutionary Court of Appeal,” he continued. “According to the law, you must be released immediately on bail. And still? On December 3, we learned that the intervention of the security administration was followed by the annulment of Jafar’s acquittal.”
Saeedi says she is excited for her husband’s release, but expressed concern that Iranian courts have already missed a deadline.
“We were told last week that Jafar is coming out in a week. We are happy again. A week has passed and Jafar is still not with us. Exactly 200 days have passed. We are desperate… Jafar’s release is in full accordance with their own laws, but they are above the law, without respect for the law.”
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