Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Petition for the release of Jafar Panahi

Please sign this petition:

To: *Sadeq Larijani, Head of the judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran*

We, the undersigned, call for the immediate and unconditional release of nationally and internationally recognized Iranian film maker, Jafar Panahi.

Jafar Panahi (جعفر پناهی) has won top prizes at the Venice, Cannes, Berlin and Chicago film festivals, most notably for the award-winning film Circle. Through his films and his influence he has given voice to many of his fellow Iranians and has always courageously defended their human rights.

Panahi was arrested by Iranian security forces at his home on Monday night, 1 March 2010, together with his wife, daughter (the inspiration behind the film Offside), and 15 guests. Panahi's wife and their daughter were among the 14 released late on Wednesday, 3 March 2010, but Panahi and two of his guests, Mohammad Rassoulof and Mehdi Pourmoussa, are still being held.

No reasons have been given behind his arrest, and the only claim made thus far is that this was not a politically motivated arrest by the government (government prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, 2nd March 2010)

We, the undersigned, dispute this claim as Jafar Panahi was a vocal critic of the previous and current administration. He was previously targeted for attending the public memorial for Neda Agha-Soltan, shot in July 2009. He was barred from travelling to attend the Berlin Film Festival in February 2010.

We, the undersigned, view his arrest in light of his influence as a filmmaker struggling for the liberation of conscience in a state that has long relied on the overwhelming use of authoritarian power.

Jafar Panahi, among other renowned artists, is paying a terrible price for courageously voicing out the people’s will in a time where few avenues are available. We would like this unlawful and unjust treatment to be stopped.

Please reply to: Alireza Khatami (a.r.khatami@gmail.com)

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