Iranian Filmmaker Jafar Panahi Released From Prison Following Hunger Strike, Cannes Pleas

Jafar Panahi
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Celebrated Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi has been freed from a Tehran prison following two months of detainment for unnamed charges. He was arrested in March following his public support of Iranian opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi in the country’s recent heavily-disputed presidential election.

Pressure from the international film community during the recent Cannes Film Festival with Panahi’s week-long hunger strike—influenced Iranian officials to release the 1995 Camera d’Or prize winner on bail of $200,000. He will likely still face trial.

Panahi, who was invited to sit on the Cannes Palme d’Or jury this year, was a subject of frequent mention at the festival. As reported by The Telegraph, Best Actress prize winner Juliette Binoche carried a sign with his name on it during her acceptance speech, while a petition for his release attracted signatures from the likes of Stephen Spielberg, Oliver Stone and Martin Scorcese, to name but a notable few. Panahi’s seat on the jury was left empty in protest of his detainment.

The current Iranian regime, led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has drawn attention for notoriously imprisoning political activists, though the country denies that Panahi’s political stances had anything to do with his arrest.