France has called on the Islamic Republic to release three film makers arrested earlier in the month in the latest criticism of Iran's record over human rights by major Western powers.
On Friday, the French foreign ministry specifically named the three Iranian award-winning filmmakers who were arrested on July 8 and 11 – namely Jafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad.
Earlier in the week, the Cannes Film Festival, the Berlinale, the European Film Academy and the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk also called for the immediate release of the prominent filmmakers.
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 arrested July 11 as he was protesting the detention of two other award-winning filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Alehahmad.
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 40 people dead and dozens missing.