Iranian director Jafar Panahi is provisionally released after going on hunger strike

File – Iranian film director Jafar Panahi after winning the Golden Bear at the 2015 Berlinale. – Soeren Stache/pool/dpa-Zentralbi

The acclaimed Iranian director Jafar Panahi was released on Friday, two days after starting a hunger strike to denounce his situation and demand his release from prison, where he had been held since July 2022.

The director’s son, Panah Panahi, has shared on Instagram an image of his father already free. The NGO Iran Human Rights has also confirmed the release, with another photograph of the director and a demand for the release of all «arbitrarily» detained filmmakers.

Panahi announced Wednesday that he would stop eating, drinking and taking medication until his release, an action in protest against «the illegal and inhumane behavior» of Iran’s judicial and security apparatus, according to a statement posted by his wife, Tahereh Saeedi, on her Instagram profile.

Panahi, who received the Golden Bear at the 2015 Berlinale for the film ‘Taxi Tehran’, went to Evin prison on July 11 to protest the detention of fellow filmmakers Mohamad Rasoulof and Mustafa al Ahmad.

Rasoulof — winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for the anti-death penalty film ‘The Lives of Others’ — and Al Ahmad were arrested for calling for restraint by Iranian authorities in quelling protests over the collapse of a building in Khuzestan province, in the south of the country.

Panahi, director of ‘The White Balloon’ (1995), is incarcerated in Evin prison after the reactivation of the prison sentence imposed in 2010 for participating in the anti-government protests of the previous year. Twelve years ago, Justice decided to release him on bail of about 200,000 dollars (about 196,000 euros), but prohibited him from continuing to make films, travel abroad or give interviews.