Detained in Iran, director Jafar Panahi announces that he has started a hunger strike

Aged 62, Jafar Pahani was arrested on July 11 and forced to serve a six-year prison sentence handed down in 2010. © AFP

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Award-winning Iranian director Jafar Panahi, imprisoned in Tehran for six months, wants to protest the conditions of his detention, according to a statement released Thursday by his wife. 


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Today, like many people trapped in Iran, I have no choice but to protest against this inhuman behavior with what I hold dearest: my life

 ," announced Jafar Pahani, who began his hunger strike on February 1.

I will refuse to eat and drink and take any medicine until I am released

 ", continued the filmmaker, saying he was ready to remain in this state until "

perhaps, (his) lifeless body is freed from prison.


Jafar Pahani, 62, was arrested on July 11, even before the start of the wave of protests that has shaken the Iranian regime since September, and was

forced to serve a six-year prison sentence.

pronounced in 2010 for “propaganda against the system”.

On October 15, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial, giving his lawyers hope for release.

In the meantime, the director remains detained in Evin prison, in Tehran.

His latest film,

No Bear

, which like most of his recent work features him directly, screened in 2022 at the Venice Film Festival when he was already imprisoned.

The film won the Special Jury Prize.

Before that, Jafar Panahi won a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2000 for his film

Le Cercle


In 2015, he was awarded a Golden Bear in Berlin for

Taxi Tehran

 , and in 2018 he won Best Screenplay for

Three Faces

at the Cannes Film Festival.

Calls for his release

On Twitter, this film institution " 

reaffirms its full support for him by calling, like many artists, festivals and organizations around the world, for his immediate release 



This cry for Freedom obliges us collectively 

”, underlined the ARP and the SRF, two collectives of French filmmakers.


We stand in solidarity with Iranians who fight for their rights, condemn this arrest and call for his release

 ,” the Berlin International Film Festival wrote on Twitter.

Film personalities are among the thousands arrested in Iran in connection with the crackdown on protests sparked by the death in custody of young girl Mahsa Amini.

Actress Taraneh Alidoosti, who released images of herself not wearing an Islamic veil, was among those detained before being released in early January after nearly three weeks in detention.

To read also: Dispute in Iran: "We are no longer afraid", testifies the director Panah Panahi

In a sign of the dangers faced by hunger strikers, human rights activists on Thursday made public photos of the emaciated body of activist and doctor Farhad Meysami, sentenced to five years in prison and who refuses to eat.

This painful image is a symbol of the non-violent struggle of the Iranian people to achieve basic human rights

 ," said Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam, the director of the NGO Iran Human Rights based in Norway, saying that Farhad Meysami had been on hunger strike since October.





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