Iranian dissident director Jafar Panahi, who received the Golden Bear for Best Film at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival, was arrested in Iran on Monday, Iranian news agency Mehr reported. At the age of 62, Panahi is one of the most awarded Iranian directors; three years after the Golden Bear for Tehran taxi, had received the Cannes Screenplay Award in 2018 for Three faces.
A dissident artist, he was sentenced in 2010 to six years of imprisonment and a twenty-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 the ultra-conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President of the Islamic Republic. However, he continued to live and work in Iran.
Arrest of dissident directors
“Jafar Panahi was arrested today [lundi] upon his arrival at the Tehran prosecutor’s office to follow up the case of another director, Mohammad Rasoulof “, detained since Friday, Mehr said. Mr. Rasoulof and his colleague Mostafa Aleahmad had been arrested by the authorities for “disturbance of public order”. They are accused of encouraging demonstrations after the collapse of a building that killed 43 people in the southwest of the country in May, according to the official IRNA news agency.
“There is still no information on the reason for Panahi’s arrest, on his connection with the Rasoulof case or with other people arrested last week”Mehr said. In recent times, the Iranian authorities have carried out numerous arrests, including that of a figure of the reform movement, Mostafa Tajzadeh, detained on Friday and accused of“activities against state security”.
Led by Mr. Rasoulof, a group of Iranian filmmakers that includes Mr. Panahi published an open letter in late May inviting the security forces “lay down your arms” using the hashtag #putyourgundown in the face of anti anger ” the corruption “ And “incompetence” officials, after the tragedy of the collapse of the building.
The organizers of the Berlinale film festival, which awarded Rasoulof its highest award in 2020, protested last week against the arrest of the director and Mr. Aleahmad and called for the release of the two artists.
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