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Iran. Mohammad Rasoulof fled the country and was previously sentenced to prison. The director will appear at the Cannes festival

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The world-renowned Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof fled the country. Last week, he was sentenced to prison by an Iranian court for encouraging demonstrations. The artist has been facing state repression for years. The director's lawyer also said that he “will take part in the Cannes festival”, where his latest film will be presented.

About his escape from Iran Mohammad Rasoulof announced on Instagram. In the entry, he also mentioned the repression he had experienced from the authorities in recent years.

“I am grateful to my friends, acquaintances and people who helped me, sometimes risking their lives, to cross the border and reach here safely,” Rasoulof wrote and published a video showing snow-capped mountain peaks. He did not specify where he is currently.

“I confirm that Mohammad Rasoulof has left Iran and will take part in the Cannes festival,” his lawyer Babk Paknia told AFP.

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Not just prison. Director sentenced for encouraging demonstrations

Rasoulof, 52, was arrested in July 2022 for encouraging demonstrations following a building collapse in southwestern Iran that killed more than 40 people.

Following the tragedy, a group of Iranian filmmakers, led by Rasoulof, published an open letter calling on security forces to “lay down their weapons” in the face of national outrage over the “corruption” and “incompetence” of those responsible for the accident.

The artist was sentenced last week to five years in prison, lashes, a fine and confiscation of property for encouraging demonstrations after the building collapse.. This is not the only time this director has been harassed by the Iranian justice system. He had been detained before and his passport was confiscated.

Director Mohammad Rasoulof was sentenced to five years in prison in IranIAN LANGSDON/PAP/EPA

Appreciated artist

Rasoulof has been awarded many times at international festivals, and his latest film “The Seed of the Sacred Fig” will be presented at the Cannes festival, which begins on May 14.

During the Cannes festival in 2017, Rasoulof won the main prize in the “Un Certain Regard” section for his film “An Honest Man”. In turn, for the film “Evil Does Not Exist”, shot in 2020, he received the Golden Bear at the Berlin festival.

Main photo source: IAN LANGSDON/PAP/EPA

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