THOSE WHO SAID NO
In the 1980s, Iran committed mass killings of political prisoners. Many of those responsible for these crimes against humanity went on to hold high office in Iran.
After decades of silence and intimidation, surviving political prisoners and relatives of victims were able to testify to an international tribunal in the International Court of Justice in the Hague. The verdict of the tribunal was handed down in February 2013. For people who refused to be silenced, the Iran Tribunal was a chance to speak the truth after 30 years of struggle for the right to be heard in court.
This outstanding documentary by Nima Sarvestani, an Iranian filmmaker now resident in Sweden, is itself an act of courage and perseverance. The subject of the Iran Tribunal has a personal significance for him: “When my brother Rostam was 19 years old, he was hung. His crime was being a member of a leftist student movement that was fighting for democracy in Iran during 1982. My parents have always sought justice from the regime. My father was aware that we couldn’t charge the regime while still living in Iran. He always asked himself: “is there anywhere else in the world that we can go and charge this regime for what they have done? And if not, how can we tell the world about what happened to our son and thousands of other young people in Iran during the 80s?” This has been my question too, for the past 30 years. My intention with this film is to fulfill my parent’s wish for justice – but also, to allow this project to be a platform for all victims to tell their stories”.
“A beautiful documentary about militancy and perseverance that grabs you by the throat but conveys hope as well” – Jury statement, Movies that Matter, the Hague.
“This documentary is first and foremost a message to whoever commits human rights violations: they will be held accountable. Impunity for human rights violations is intolerable for victims, their relatives, and for the society as a whole. – Jury statement, One World Festival, Prague.
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