Dissident Filmmaker Shokof to Publish Film on the Internet

2010/06/17

Published on the website of German weekly magazine “Spiegel” on 17 June 2010
Source (German): http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesellschaft/0,1518,701302,00.html
English translation kindly provided by Elli M. and Thomas Adolf

Filmmaker Darioush Shokof, who is living in exile in Germany, claims that he was kidnapped by Iranian secret agents. The police doubts his statement. However, Shokof does not accept to be silenced and wants to publish his film “Iran zendan”, in which he criticizes the Iranian regime, in the Internet.

Filmmaker Shokof: Kidnapped by mullah supporters? (AFP)

Hamburg/Berlin: The story of the Iranian filmmaker Darioush Shokof, who disappeared for some time without a trace, sounds like a bizarre spy tale from the Cold War. Whereas the filmmaker claims that he was kidnapped, the police says that they are investigating in all directions. The Cologne-based newspaper “Kölnische Rundschau” cites an investigator who believes that the filmmaker has possibly staged his own kidnapping: “He has great financial problems.” Shokof in turn demanded that the investigations be steered “in the right direction”.

Now, the director has announced that he will publish his film “Iran zendan”, in which he criticizes the Iranian regime, on the Internet. The 70-minute production would become available soon for a small fee, said the 57 year-old man in a press conference in Berlin on Thursday. “Iran zendan” deals with the abuse of political prisoners in Iranian detention centers. Initially, Shokof had planned to launch his film for cinema screening.

He would not bend to the mullah regime, said Shokof. The director who lives in Berlin believes that he was kidnapped by followers of the Iranian regime. Earlier, there had been some unusual incidents. There was a housebreaking into the apartment of a friend who lived in Shokof’s house. Shokof’s passport had been stolen and someone had told him that his life was in danger.

The filmmaker says that several Arabic-speaking men forced him into a car on the evening of 24th May, and then drove him to an apartment where he was held for several days. According to Shokof, the kidnappers told him that he insulted the Iranian regime with his films and asked him to prevent the screening of his work. Shokof suddenly resurfaced almost two weeks later. He supposes that his liberation was due to the considerable media attention for his case.

sha/ddp

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