Iran releases filmmaker Jafar Panahi from prison
After two months in custody in his native country, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, 49, was released today on approximately $200,000 bail, the AP reports. Panahi, who has earned awards at the Chicago, Cannes, and Berlin film festivals, initiated a hunger strike May 16 to protest his imprisonment, and also demanded to see his family as well as a lawyer. Though the exact charges against him are unclear, a state prosecutor stated that Panahi committed unspecified “offenses,” which may be related in part to his involvement in the opposition movement of last summer’s divisive elections in Iran. Most recently, Panahi was expected to serve on the jury for the Cannes film festival, but could not attend due to his detainment.
More on Jafar Panahi from EW’s Movie Critics blog:
Jafar Panahi: A terrific filmmaker is in prison, not at Cannes where he belongs