Berlin Film Festival to Protest Jailing of Iranian Filmmaker

Organizers to honor Jafar Panahi, who is in prison for making a film

The Berlin Film Festival will pay tribute this year to Iranian director Jafar Panahi, organizers said on Tuesday — a month after the filmmaker was sentenced to six years in prison in Iran.

According to Panahi's lawyers, he was jailed by an Iranian court last month for making a film without permission and inciting opposition protests. The court also banned him from writing or making films for 20 years, his lawyers say.

Panahi, whose film "Offside" won the Berlin festival's Silver Bear award in 2006, had been named as a member of this year's jury at the festival that runs February 10-20. "We are going to use every opportunity to protest against this drastic verdict," Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick said in a statement.

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