Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi has been sentenced to six years in jail in over films he’s made that examine modern life and political expression in the country.
Karimi and his lawyer told the Associated Press an Iranian court sentenced him on charges of “insulting sanctities.” Footage reportedly cited in the case included a “video clip” and a film of Karimi’s called Writing on the City, which focuses on graffiti in Iran from the 1979 Islamic Revolution to the country’s contested 2009 election.
“I don’t know what happened that I should go to jail for six years,” Karimi said. “I speak about the government, I speak about society, I speak about [graffiti], I speak about a laborer. Watch my movies and … [then] judge me.”
Another of his films — Broken Border, a short documentary focusing on smuggling of subsidized gasoline from Iran to Iraq — may have also angered officials, he added.
Karimi remains free for the time being, the AP reports, and he and his lawyer say they will appeal the case. He is best known for his 2013 film The Adventures of the Married Couple, which played in 40 film festivals and won prizes in Spain and Colombia.