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Imprisoned Iranian Filmmaker Declares Starvation Strike


Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi (picture by way of Flickr)

Jailed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi says he’s declaring a starvation strike till he’s launched from Iran’s notorious Evin jail, in accordance with a assertion shared yesterday by his spouse, Tahereh Saeedi.

On July 12, Iranian authorities arrested Panahi on a 2010 cost of making “propaganda in opposition to the system.” The 12-year-old cost carried a six-year jail sentence, however Panahi was solely taken into custody final summer time when he participated in a protest at Evin jail decrying the jailing of Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad, two fellow filmmakers and authorities critics who had been arrested 4 days earlier.

In October, Panahi’s lawyer efficiently cited Iran’s 10-year statute of limitations and the nation’s Supreme Court docket dominated that he may apply for a retrial. Panahi ought to have been launched then, however Iranian authorities have stored him at Evin.

In his starvation strike announcement, Panahi pointed to the repeated implementation of “selective legal guidelines” and defined the illegality of his continued imprisonment. “It’s only an excuse for repression,” the filmmaker wrote.

Panahi’s 2010 conviction additionally imposed a 20-year ban on leaving the nation and creating movies, however the director has continued to supply internationally acclaimed works, resembling Taxi (2015), 3 Faces (2018), and No Bears (2022), which debuted in September on the Venice Worldwide Movie Competition and gained the Particular Jury prize. Set in a small Iranian city, the film interrogates concepts of strict cultural and spiritual traditionalism and touches on Panahi’s personal freedom and exile.

Panahi had already been imprisoned for 2 months on the time of No Bear’s September launch. Quickly after, on September 16, Iran erupted into protests over the killing of Mahsa Amini within the custody of the nation’s “morality police” after she was detained for improperly sporting her hijab. The largely women-led demonstrations have swept the nation over the previous half yr in protest of the Islamic Republic’s gender-based discrimination and authoritarian rule. For the reason that protests started, 4 males have been executed in public hangings, and as of January 18, not less than 18 others have been sentenced to loss of life.

On January 27, Amnesty Worldwide reported that three protesters awaiting execution — Javad Rouhi, Mehdi Mohammadifard, and Arshia Takdastan — had not solely been handed “grossly unfair trials” however had additionally been tortured. As of February 1, the nonprofit group Human Rights Activists reported 527 protesters killed and over 19,600 arrested since September. A lot of these arrests have focused writers and artists, and not less than 40 filmmakers have been taken into custody.

“I’ll stay on this state till maybe my lifeless physique is free of jail,” Panahi mentioned in his assertion.


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