Film-maker Jafar Panahi arrested in Iran (guardian)
The Iranian director Jafar Panahi has reportedly been detained by security forces in his homeland. Panahi, 49, is a vocal supporter of the opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and has long been regarded as a pariah by the Iranian establishment. He is currently believed to be being held at an undisclosed location.
Mousavi's website Kaleme quotes Panahi's son, who claims that the film-maker was arrested at his home on Monday night, together with his wife, daughter and 15 dinner guests. Security forces allegedly searched the house and seized belongings. The official Iranian media is not reporting the story.
Panahi's productions are largely funded by European money as a means of bypassing what he sees as government interference. His films are banned in Iran, where the authorities regard them as implicitly critical of the current regime. "[The authorities] think that anyone who is independent or not following their views is a spy of the west," Panahi told the Guardian at the time of Crimson Gold's release. "Paid by the west. Spreading western propaganda."
Abbas Kiarostami Speaks Out on Prisoners (NY Times)
Abbas Kiarostami, a celebrated Iranian filmmaker who has won numerous international awards for films like “ Close-Up” and “ Through The Olive Trees,” published an open letter in a Tehran newspaper on Tuesday calling for the release of Jafar Panahi and Mahmoud Rasoulof, two directors recently detained by the authorities.
According to The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, a source close to him said: “Over the past years, Ministry of Intelligence authorities have summoned Jafar Panahi to different investigation offices of the Ministry in different locations and have questioned him. In one of these meetings he was told, ‘Just because you are a famous filmmaker, you mustn’t think that we are unable to arrest you. We can arrest you whenever we decide.’”
Here is the complete text of Mr. Kiarostami’s open letter, written in response to that arrest: