Jafar Panahi, one of Iran’s most well-known directors, is apparently on a hunger strike at Tehran’s Evin jail to protest his ongoing arrest.
According to activist group Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), which cited Panahi’s wife Tahereh Saeedi, the decision by the Cannes film festival award-winning director of “The White Balloon,” “The Circle,” and “No Bears” came when his hopes of a temporary release were rebuffed.
On his wife’s Instagram account on Wednesday, Pahani reportedly wrote: “Today, like many people trapped in Iran, I have no choice but to spend my dearest property… I will refrain from eating and drinking any kind of food or medicine. I will remain in this situation so long that my lifeless body may be released from prison. With love to Iran and the people of my land.”
According to HRANA, Panahi was detained in front of Evin prison on July 11, 2022, and informed that he would have to complete a six-year prison term imposed by a Tehran court in 2011.
According to Reuters, he had been accused of spreading disinformation against the administration and stirring up demonstrations during the unrest that followed the 2009 election.
According to the Artistic Freedom Initiative (AFI), a New York-based human rights organization, the statute of limitations has run out under Iranian law because Panahi’s sentence was rendered more than ten years ago. However, according to AFI, the Iranian judicial system declined to examine his case or grant him bail.
In an open letter posted on HRANA’s website, Panahi stated, “According to law, once my request for a retrial was accepted and my legal case was delivered to a court branch for review, I should have been released on bail immediately.”
In his open letter, he mentioned the unrest that gripped the nation ever since Mahsa Amini, 22, died in detention in September 2022 and the recent wave of arrests and executions.
Good News: Award winning Iranian film director Jafar Panahi is released following months of unlawful detention. This came after he announced he will go on dry hunger strike 48 hours ago. #JafarPanahi #جعفر_پناهی https://t.co/TyGziNsadr pic.twitter.com/n2gmWp2Wu1
— Bahman Kalbasi (@BahmanKalbasi) February 3, 2023
“While we witnessed the execution of the innocent young men of our country within 30 days, by the interference of intelligence agents, delivering my case to a court branch took over 100 days,” Panahi added.
According to a source close to the movie’s director, Panahi has been harassed frequently by the government and denied fundamental rights in prison while battling the flu and other illnesses over the previous few weeks.
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For almost 4 years, Jason Martin has been a freelance writer for newspapers, journals, blogs, books, and online material. He covers the most recent news as well as many other topics.