Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi freed after seven months in prison

He was released on bail on Friday, two days after starting a hunger strike, according to the NGO Center for Human Rights in Iran.


The filmmaker was released “two days after starting a hunger strike”.

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IRenowned Iranian director Jafar Panahi, imprisoned for nearly seven months in Iran, was released on bail on Friday, the NGO Center for Human Rights in Iran announced. Panahi, whose films have won awards at several European film festivals, was released “two days after starting a hunger strike”, according to Chri, while the Iranian newspaper Shargh posted a photo of Panahi hugging one of his supporters upon his release from Tehran’s Evin prison.

“It’s extraordinary, a relief, a total joy”, reacted the French producer Michèle Halberstadt, who distributes her films. “His next fight is to have his sentence officially cancelled. He is outside, he is free, it is already great, ”she added for AFP.

Arrested for “propaganda against the system”

Jafar Panahi, 62, was arrested in July even before the start of the wave of protest actions that have rocked the Iranian regime since September. He was to serve a six-year prison sentence handed down in 2010 for “propaganda against the system”.

In a statement released by his wife on Thursday, the director announced that he had gone on hunger strike on 1er February to protest against his conditions of detention. “I will remain in this state until, perhaps, my lifeless body is released from prison,” he warned.

READ ALSOCinema: the forbidden game of Jafar Panahi

The Cannes Film Festival and two collectives of French filmmakers had called for his release. Jafar Panahi won a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2000 for his film The circle. In 2015 he was awarded a Golden Bear in Berlin for Taxi Tehran and, in 2018, he won Best Screenplay for Three Faces at the Cannes Film Festival.

Jafar Panahi’s last film, No bears, which, like most of his recent works, features him directly, was screened in 2022 at the Venice Film Festival when he was already imprisoned. He had won the special jury prize.

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