The prize of the International Jury for the Best Documentary has been awarded to Those who said no, by Nima Sarvestani, who had the courage of, after decades of silence, to deal with the theme of atrocities committed in Iran over the last 30 years. For the way in which the temperance and deep human kindness of the witnesses who gave evidence at the International Court of Justice are portrayed, and who are D fighting to let the truth be known. A difficult road to take, even today.
After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the new Iranian regime consolidated its power through the mass removal of opponents: in the 80s, a multitude of political prisoners were secretly tortured and killed. The perpetrators were never prosecuted, and today hold high-ranking government positions. More than a quarter of a century has passed, in October 2012, the Iran Tribunal met in The Hague to investigate the executions. This international people’s court has no executive power, but aims principally to identify and investigate what went on. For three days, survivors and members of victims’ families (including the filmmaker Nami Sarvestani) give their testimony. The Iran Tribunal was broadcast live. From Sweden, an activist named Iraj follows the tribunal – he is one of the survivors, scarred for life. Like Mehdi, who works behind the scenes at the tribunal, Iraj dreams of confronting the perpetrators with their crimes. He has dedicated his life entirely to the struggle for justice. Footage of Iraj and of Sarvestani looking for evidence in Iran is interspersed with poignant testimony from the courtroom. Survivors describe the horrors of their captivity in detail, but will justice ever prevail?
The Ayatolla’s fatwa was brutally clear: “The political prisoners, who stand by their beliefs are considered waging war against God and are Islam’s enemies. They should be executed immediately.” In the 1980s, the new Iranian regime consolidated its power by executing thousands of political prisoners – many in the single summer of 1988. Now, after 25 years of silence, and with the perpetrators still in power, the world is hearing for the first time the details of the atrocity. Whilst the torturers enjoy complete immunity, the Iran Tribunal in The Hague investigates the executions over three moving days, determined to out the truth. Director Nami Sarvestani, whose brother was one of those executed, brings his own documentary footage to the hearing. His film weaves between the courtroom and the survivors and victim’s families who have been working for a quarter century for their voices to be heard.
Opening Night with Reception. Those Who Said No is the gripping story of the fallout from Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1988 fatwa ordering the execution of all political prisoners in Iran. Details of the ensuing “Bloody Decade” were revealed in 2013, when a group of courageous individuals came together at the Iran Tribunal in The Hague to tell their stories, shed light on these hidden crimes, and finally bring the perpetrators to justice. It’s all captured in this riveting documentary.
The evening will also include a teaser of the Greenhouse documentary project-in-development Blue ID presented by Turkish filmmakers Burcu Melekoglu and Vuslat Karan.
Introduced by Greenhouse Director Sigal Yehuda, Greenhouse partner/mentor Bruni Burres, and Executive Director of the NFCT and leading Greenhouse partner Dorit Inbar.
Reception to follow the screening.
“Those Who Said No”was screened in the Swedish parliament on Tuesday April 28.
A good opportunity for members of the parliament to find out about some of the crimes of the Islamic regime against the people of Iran. We hope it will affect the parliament’s decision-making in the future and perhaps will make politicians rethink the good relations the Swedish government has had with the Iranian regime over the last 35 years.
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