Crime & Justice

Acclaimed director Jafar Panahi goes on hunger strike in Iran prison

Tehran, Feb 2 (EFE).- Prize-winning Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi has begun a hunger strike to protest his continued incarceration in the country’s notorious Evin prison.

In a letter posted on social media by his family late Wednesday, Panahi said: “I will refuse to eat and drink any food and medicine until the time of my release.

“I will remain in this state until perhaps my lifeless body is freed from prison.”

The director of award-winning movies Taxi and No Bears denounced the “illegal” and “inhumane” treatment he is being subjected to in prison, calling his arrest “hostage-taking.”

Pahani stressed that while the country’s “innocent youth” were arrested, convicted and executed in less than 30 days during the protests that have rocked the Islamic republic in recent months, his case took more than 100 days to be transferred from one court to the other.

“Today, like many people trapped in Iran, I have no choice but to protest against these inhumane behaviors with my dearest possession, that is, my life,” he continued.

Panahi was arrested in July 2022 for condemning the arrest of filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad, who were detained for criticizing the crackdown on protests triggered by the deadly collapse of a building in southern Iran last year.

His arrest reactivated a suspended six-year prison sentence he was handed in 2010 for national security violation charges.

Among several prestigious international awards, Pahani won Berlin Golden Bear for Taxi in 2015 and the Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival for 3 Faces in 2018.

In his latest film No Bears that won the Jury Prize in Venice, Pahani discussed the lack of freedoms in a country clinging to traditions excessively.

Massive protests had rocked Iran for months over the death of 21-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody in September after she was arrested by the morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab incorrectly.

Iranian authorities responded with a series of crackdowns on protesters, leaving almost 500 people dead, nearly 20,000 arrested and four executed, according to NGOs.EFE


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