A spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs andSecurity Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued a statement to the effect that Catherine Ashton was disturbed to learn of the six-year prison sentence, confirmed after appeal, imposed on the prominent Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi. "The High Representative is also very concerned about the sentence of one year’s imprisonment and 90 lashes given to prominent actress Marzieh Vafamehr, following her part in a film referring to the difficult conditions in which artists operate in Iran," the statement continues.
The High Representative called on Iran to review both sentences and to put an end tothe persecution exercised on filmmakers and the artistic community. Ashton called such treatment "incompatible with international human rights principles." She added that those cases prove that Iran has freely signed up to the use of corporal punishment – which amounts to torture – i.e. "incompatible with article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."
"The right to freedom of expression through art and writing, is enshrined in Article 19 of the sameCovenant," the statement concluded.