Dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi arrested in Iran

Dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi arrested in Iran

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Awarded several times internationally, the 62-year-old Iranian was sentenced in 2010 to six years in prison and a 20-year ban on directing or writing films, traveling or speaking in the media, for “propaganda against the regime”.

Iranian dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi, Golden Bear for Best Film at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival, was arrested on Monday (July 11th) in Iran, the Iranian News Agency reported. More. “Jafar Panahi was arrested today (Monday July 11) when he went to the Tehran prosecutor’s office to follow up on the file of another director, Mohammad Rasoulof», detained since Friday July 8, according to More.

Mohammad Rasoulof and his colleague Mostafa Aleahmad had been arrested by the authorities for “disturbance of public order”. They are accused of having encouraged demonstrations after the collapse of a building which killed 43 people in May 2022 in the south-west of the country, according to the official Irna agency.

Led by Mohammad Rasoulof, a group of Iranian filmmakers including Jafar Panahi published an open letter in late May calling on the security forces “to lay down arms” in the face of anger «la corruption» et “incompetence” officials, after the tragedy of the collapse of the building.

“There is still no information on the reason for Panahi’s arrest, his connection to the Rasoulof case or to other people arrested last week”, clarified More. In recent times, the Iranian authorities have carried out numerous arrests, including a figure of the reform movement Mostafa Tajzadeh, detained and accused of“activities against state security”.

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Already condemned in 2010

Dissident artist Jafar Panahi was sentenced in 2010 to six years in prison and a 20-year ban on directing or writing films, traveling or expressing himself in the media, for “propaganda against the regime”, after supporting the 2009 protest movement against the re-election of ultra-conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President of the Islamic Republic. However, he continued to live and work in Iran.

Arrested in March 2010, the multi-award-winning filmmaker (Golden Lion at Venice for The circle and Camera d’or in Cannes for The White Ball) had not been able to tread the red carpet of the Croisette where he was to be part of the jury. Banned from filming in his country and banned from leaving Iranian territory, Jafar Panahi was unable to receive the screenplay prize awarded to him at Cannes in 2018 for three faces shot in secret.

Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad, arrested on Friday, are accused of encouraging protests after the deadly collapse of a building in the south-west of the country in May, according to the official Irna news agency. After the tragedy, a group of Iranian filmmakers led by Mohammad Rasoulof published an open letter at the end of May calling on the security forces “to lay down arms” in the face of anger «la corruption» et “incompetence” managers.MM. Panahi and Rasoulof had also denounced in mid-May with other Iranian filmmakers and actors the arrest of several of their colleagues in Iran.

Repression and censorship constitute “a violation of freedom of expression” et “reduce the safety of directors to the bare minimum”, they denounced in an open letter.

The Cannes Film Festival gave them its support. His management “strongly condemns these arrests as well as the wave of repression visibly underway in Iran against its artists, and calls for the immediate release of Mohammad Rasoulof, Mostafa Aleahmad and Jafar Panahi”, the festival wrote in a statement. The organizers of the Berlinale, which awarded Mr. Rasoulof the supreme distinction in 2020, protested last week against the arrest of the filmmaker and his colleague, demanding the release of the two artists.

Mohammad Rasoulof, 50, won the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2020 for his film The devil does not exist but could not travel to Germany. His passport had been confiscated after his previous feature film in 2017, A man of integrity, presented at Cannes, where it won the prize in the “Un Certain Regard” category.

In recent times, the Iranian authorities have carried out numerous arrests, including a figure of the reform movement, Mostafa Tajzadeh, arrested on Friday on the charge of“activities against state security”.


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