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Two Iranian filmmakers detained for months

The two filmmakers are still held at Evin.

          VA: 107/10 Index: MDE 13/048/2010 Iran
          Date: 05 May 2010
          Two Iranian filmmakers — Mohammad Ali Shirzadi and Ja'far Panahi — are detained without
          charge or trial in Evin Prison, Tehran after their arrest in January and March 2010 respectively.
          Amnesty International is calling for their immediate and unconditional release as they are held
          solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and are considered to be
          prisoners of conscience.
          Mohammad Au Shirzadi, aged 39, was arrested by five unidentified men on 4 January 2010 outside his home in
          Tehran. He was forced to re-enter his house which was then searched without a warrant and his computer, personal
          notebook and other items were confiscated. His family had no news about his whereabouts for 40 days, after which
          he telephoned them to say he was all right, but did not reveal his location. They later learned that he was being
          held in Evin Prison. He has so far been allowed two family visits, at which a security official was present, and he
          was unable to tell them the reasons for his arrest. However, his family believe his arrest may be linked to an
          interview he filmed around two years ago, between prominent human rights defender Emadeddin Baghi and Grand
          Ayatollah Montazeri. The film was shown after Grand Ayatollah Montazeri died in December 2009 and shortly
          afterwards, Emadeddin Baghi was arrested and has been in detention since (see UA: 05/10 Index: MDE
          13/003/2010 and follow-up).
          Award-winning filmmaker Ja'far Panahi, aged 49, was arrested on 1 March 2010 at his home in Tehran with several
          other people, including his wife and daughter. All have since been released except for Ja'far Panahi. His wife,
          Tahereh Saeedi, was allowed to meet him for the first time on 30 March. On 14 April 2010, the Minister of Culture
          and Islamic Guidance said that Ja'far Panahi had been arrested because he was making an anti-government film
          about the disputed presidential election of 2009.
          PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Persian, Arabic, English, French or your own language:
          Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Mohammad Ali Shirzadi and Ja'far Panahi as they are held
          solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and are prisoners of conscience;
          Expressing concern that Mohammad Ali Shirzadi was held incommunicado for 40 days and urging that family
          members of all detainees are informed promptly of their relatives' whereabouts and allowed to visit them regularly;
          Reminding the Iranian authorities that freedom of expression is guaranteed under Article 19 of the International
          Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a state party and that the right to freedom of expression
          includes freedom to seek, receive and impart information, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or
          through any other media.
          Leader of the Islamic Republic
          Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
          The Office of the Supreme Leader
          Islamic Republic Street— End of
          Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran,
          Islamic Republic of Iran
          Email: info_leader@leader.ir
          via website:
          http://www. leader.ir/langs/en/index. ph p?
          p=letter (English)
          Salutation: Your Excellence
          Head of Tehran Judiciary
          MrAli RezaAvaei
          Karimkhan Land Avenue
          Sana'i Avenue, Corner of Alley 17, No
          Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
          Email: avaei@Dadgostary-tehran.ir
          Salutation: Dear Mr Avaei
          And copies to: Secretary General.
          High Council for Human Rights
          Mohammad Javad Larijani
          Howzeh Riassat-e Ghoveh Ghazaiyeh
          Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of
          Serah-e Jomhuri
          Tehran 1316814737
          Islamic Republic of Iran
          Fax: +98 21 3390 4986
          Email: bia.judi@yahoo.com (In subject
          line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani
          Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above
          Date: 05 May 2010
          Ja'far Panahi is a well-known film director who has made internationally-acclaimed films such as “the White Balloon” and “The
          Circle”. He is also a peace activist who is a member of the National Peace Council in Iran, a group set up in July 2008 on the
          initiative of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders, an NG0 established by Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi and other
          prominent lawyers. The National Peace Council has 85 representatives from different social and, ethnic groups and professions.
          Its aims are “creating and strengthening the basis for peace; preventing a military attack; abolishing the imposed sanctions and
          preventing any additional sanctions; ending the situation of ‘Neither war, Nor Peace”.
          Ja'far Panahi was briefly arrested in July 2009 during a gathering at a cemetery in Tehran of people mourning the death of Neda
          Agha Soltan, a young woman apparently killed by a member of the Basij militia during a protest at the outcome of the 2009
          presidential election. He was later released, but subsequently banned from travelling abroad, including to the 2009 Berlin Film
          Festival in which he was due to participate. He has been invited to participate on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival between
          12 and 23 May 2010.
          Mohammad Ali Shirzadi is a member of the now-banned Association in Defence of Prisoners' Rights, founded by Emadeddin
          Bagh i.
          UA: 101/10 Index: MOE 13/048/2010 Issue Date: 05 May 2010
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Tagged as:

Free Speech, Imprisonment, Arbitrary Detention