The well known and award winning Iranian director, Jafar Panahi was arrested last week in Iran for criticizing the government after enquiring about the earlier arrest of fellow film-maker Mohammad Rasoulof. Panahi was also sentenced to 6 years in jail.
Panahi, who has won the top prizes at the Venice and Berlin film festivals, and is the director of films including The Circle, The White Balloon, Crimson Gold, Taxi and This Is Not a Film, is one of three film-makers arrested in Tehran in less than a week.
He and Rasoulof were previously arrested in 2010 for “propaganda against the system”, critiquing the government in their films and at protests. He was sentenced to six years in jail, of which he served two months before being granted a conditional release that was revocable.
The arrests have been widely criticised by film bodies internationally. The Cannes film festival issued a statement saying it “strongly condemns these arrests as well as the wave of repression obviously in progress in Iran against its artists. The festival calls for the immediate release of Mohammad Rasoulof, Mostafa Aleahmad and Jafar Panahi.”