Jafar Panahi Makes Statement From Prison, Goes On Hunger Strike

In the long saga that has become the unjust imprisonment of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, one side has distinctly been left out of the conversation. His. Well, now we have our first statement, from the filmmaker, from jail:

I hereby declare that I have been subject to ill treatment in Evin prison.

On Saturday May 15, 2010, prison guards suddenly entered our cell, n ° 56. They took us away, my cell mates and I, made us strip and kept us in the cold for an hour and a half.

Sunday morning, they brought me to the interrogation room and accused me of having filmed the interior of my cell, which is completely untrue. Then they threatened to imprison my entire family at Evin and to mistreat my daughter in an unsafe prison in the city of Rejayi Shahr.

I have eaten and drunk nothing since Sunday morning, and I declare that if my wishes are not respected, I will continue to abstain from drinking and eating. I do not want to be a rat in a laboratory, victim of their sick games, threatened and psychologically tortured.

My wishes are :

– The possibility to contact and see my family, and the complete assurance that they are safe.
– The right to retain and communicate with an attorney, after 77 days of imprisonment.
– Unconditional liberty until the day of my judgment and the final verdict
– Finally, I swear upon what I believe in, the cinema : I will not cease my hunger strike until my wishes are satisfied.

My final wish is that my remains be returned to my family, so that they may bury me in the place they choose.

This news comes after reports both declaring that he will soon be released, as well as saying that his imprisonment has been distinctly extended, but now, it appears as though the latter is true. Personally, this is not only truly saddening news, but hopefully this hunger strike will do something to rightfully free this filmmaker.

He was imprisoned in early March, along with his wife, daughter and 15 house guests, after continuing to declare support for then presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. He had been imprisoned during the 2009 fraudulent election in Iran, but set free shortly after. After a massive outcry not only at the Cannes Film Festival by the likes of Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami, but also by the festival themselves (who declared him a jury member, leaving a spot open as show of solidarity for the filmmaker), hopefully this strike will be able to free him. If not, it appears as though the news will only continue to get more saddening.

More on this as it develops, as it no doubt will. Hopefully it’s with good news though.

Source: La Regle Du Jeu

Joshua Brunsting

Josh is a critic, a member of the Online Film Critics Society, a wrestling nerd, a hip-hop head, a father, a cinephile and a man looking to make his stamp on the world, one word at a time.