Iranian Filmmaker Jafar Panahi Launches Hunger Strike in Protest of His Imprisonment
Iranian film director Jafar Panahi has launched a hunger strike to denounce his imprisonment since last July. In a letter posted on social networks by his family, Panahi described the treatment of the Iranian Justice and security forces as “illegal and inhumane” and defined his arrest as “kidnapping.”
The award-winning director of “Taxi” and “No Bear” explained that while innocent youth in the country are arrested, convicted and executed in under 30 days, his case has taken over 100 days to be transferred from one court to the other. He wrote, “Today, like many people who are trapped in Iran, I have no choice but to protest the inhumane behavior with my most precious possession, that is, my life.”
Panahi was arrested in July 2020 after calling out the arrest of fellow filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Ale Ahmad. He was facing a sentence of six years in prison for violating national security, a sentence which had been suspended in 2010. His latest film, “No Bears”, is an acclaimed plea against the lack of freedoms in Iran.
The outcome of this civil unrest and subsequent hunger strike is yet to be seen as the Iranian authorities recently responded to the death of student Masha Amini with strong police repression that has caused nearly 500 deaths and arrested 20,000 protesters, four of whom have been executed. The protests have since lost strength and hardly any mobilizations have been seen on the streets.