Award-winning Iranian film director Jafar Panahi was arrested Monday as he was protesting the detention of two other moviemakers at Tehran’s Evin prison.
Unconfirmed social media reports said that Panahi, along with several other Iranian filmmakers, was at the prosecutor’s office of the prison and was detained there. There are other reports that said they were holding a protest in front of the prison for the release of Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Alehahmad when security forces arrested him.
More than 300 figures of the country’s film industry have signed a statement calling for their release. The Berlinale, the European Film Academy and the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk have also spoken out against their arrest.
Panahi, who has won numerous awards, including the Golden Leopard at Locarno Festival, the Golden Lion in Venice, and the Silver Bear at the Berlinale, was once arrested in March 2010 and later charged with propaganda against the regime.
Rasoulof – another prominent filmmaker with several international awards such as the Golden Bear – and Alehahmad – who is known in international film galas for his short works -- were arrested July 8 as part of the Iranian crackdown on the signatories of a collective statement titled “Lay down the gun” issued by more than 100 film industry personalities in the end of May.
The statement called on military and security forces who “have become tools for cracking down on the people,” not to suppress protesters during a wave of protests across Iran that were triggered when a 10-story building collapsed in Abadan, leaving at least 37 people dead and dozens missing.