Urgent Action Update: Jailed Filmmaker At Risk Of Flogging (Iran: UA 19/16)

Urgent Action
December 1, 2016
Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi was jailed on 23 November after being summoned to start serving his prison sentence. The authorities have told Keywan Karimi they also intend to carry out his flogging sentence of 223 lashes. He is a prisoner of conscience.
Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi, from Iran’s Kurdish minority, began serving his prison sentence on 23 November. Although he had never received an official written summons, the Office for the Implementation of Sentences had repeatedly telephoned him since February 2016, ordering him to present himself to Tehran’s Evin Prison to begin serving his sentence. The authorities have also told him that they intend to implement his flogging sentence of 223 lashes.
Keywan Karimi had been on bail since December 2013. He had obtained a letter from doctors which certified that his mother was undergoing cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, and Keywan Karimi had hoped that the authorities would not summon him to serve his prison sentence before her course of treatment was complete. He had also wanted to remain at liberty long enough to finish making his latest film.
Keywan Karimi was arrested on 14 December 2013 and held for 12 days in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer in Section 2-A of Evin Prison, which is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards, before being released on bail. In October 2015, following an unfair trial before a Revolutionary Court in Tehran, he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment on the charge of “insulting Islamic sanctities” and 223 lashes on the charge of “illicit relations falling short of adultery”. The former charge was imposed in connection with a music video clip the authorities found on his hard drive; the latter was brought against him for “shaking hands” and “being under one roof” with a female friend and poet “who had not covered her head and neck”. On 20 February 2016, Keywan Karimi was told that an appeal court had upheld his flogging sentence and ruled that he must serve one year of his six-year prison sentence. It suspended the rest of the prison sentence for a period of five years, conditional on his “good behaviour”.
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
  • Calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Keywan Karimi as he is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and association;
  • Calling on them, in the meantime, to provide him with regular access to his family and lawyer of his own choosing and to provide him with any medical care he may require;
  • Urging them to abolish flogging sentences, as they violate the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under international law;
  • Urging them to end their crackdown on artistic expression and protect the rights to privacy, and freedom of expression and association, which are enshrined in Articles 17, 19, 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party.

Contact below official by 12 January, 2017:

Office of the Supreme Leader
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Fax: (212) 867-7086 I Phone: (212) 687-2020
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
Salutation: Your Excellency
PDF version: 
Word version: