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Iranian Film Director Mohammad Rasoulof Flees Country After Jail Sentence

WorldIranian Film Director Mohammad Rasoulof Flees Country After Jail Sentence

The celebrated Iranian film director Mohammad Rasoulof said he had fled the country to Europe, after a court sentenced him to eight years in prison for his movies.

Mr. Rasoulof — known for his award-winning film “There Is No Evil” — had been barred from leaving Iran in 2017 after his work criticized the authoritarian rule in the country. His lawyer, Babak Paknia, wrote last week on social media that an Iranian court had sentenced Mr. Rasoulof to imprisonment, whipping and a fine for movies that it called “examples of collusion with the intention of committing a crime against the country’s security.”

On Monday, Mr. Rasoulof announced his escape from Iran in an Instagram post that featured a video of snow-capped mountains and said he had reached a “safe place.” He said in a separate statement that he had arrived in Europe “after a long and complicated journey.”

“I had to choose between prison and leaving Iran,” he said in the statement, which was shared by his spokeswoman, Claudia Tomassini. “With a heavy heart, I chose exile.”

Mr. Rasoulof said that he strongly objected to the “unjust recent ruling” that had driven him to flee, but that Iran’s judiciary had issued “so many cruel and strange decisions” that he did not feel like it was his place to complain about his sentence.

“The scope and intensity of repression has reached a point of brutality where people expect news of another heinous government crime every day,” he added.


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