Iran: Filmmaker Panahi on Hunger Strike

2010/05/19

Published in German weekly magazine “Focus” on 19 May 2010
Source (German): http://www.focus.de/kultur/kino_tv/iran-regisseur-panahi-im-hungerstreik_aid_509867.html
English translation provided by @germantoenglish

As a matter of fact, Jafar Panahi was supposed to be participating in the jury of the Cannes film festival right now. But the Iranian filmmaker was detained 77 days ago. Now he has started a hunger strike.

The case of the Iranian film maker Jafar Panahi has taken a dramatic turn. “I swear by my belief, the cinema, that I will not stop my hunger strike”, the Iranian opposition website “Rahe Sabz” on Tuesday quoted him as saying. Panahi is apparently prepared to sacrifice his life in protest against the regime in his home country. His last will: He wants his body to be delivered to his family.

Reportedly, during a short telephone call from Evin prison the 49-year old film maker informed his wife that he refuses to eat and drink since Sunday and will not resume eating and drinking until his demands are met. After 77 days of detention he demands to be granted access to a lawyer and “unconditional freedom” until his case will be tried in court.

Panahi is a member of the jury that is currently deciding about the best film at the ongoing film festival on the French Riviera. His colleagues in Cannes put up an empty chair for Panahi in protest against the travel ban against him. The Iranian Ministry of Culture accused the filmmaker of having prepared a film about the protests that followed last year’s disputed presidential election. In 1995, Panahi was awarded the Golden Camera for the best debut film in Cannes for his movie “The White Balloon”.

jok/AFP

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