Jafar Panahi released on bail

Jafar Panahi released on bail

Jafar Panahi released on bail

Acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi has been released on bail after starting a hunger strike to protest against his almost seven-month detention, a rights group and supporters said on Feb. 3.

Panahi has been released from Tehran’s Evin prison “two days after starting his hunger strike for freedom,” the U.S.-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said on Twitter, while Iran’s Shargh newspaper posted an image of Panahi jubilantly embracing a supporter.

The prize-winning director was arrested in July and went on a dry hunger strike last week to protest his continued detention.

“Mr Panahi was temporarily released from Evin prison with the efforts of his family, respected lawyers, and representatives of the cinema,” Iran’s House of Cinema, which groups together industry professionals, said in a statement.

The announcement that Panahi was going on a dry hunger strike sparked a wave of concern across the world about the director, who has won prizes at all of Europe’s top three film festivals.

“I will remain in this state until perhaps my lifeless body is freed from prison,” Panahi had warned in a statement published by his wife.

Panahi, 62, was arrested on July 11 and had been due to serve a six-year sentence handed down in 2010 after his conviction for “propaganda against the system.”

On Oct. 15, the Supreme Court quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial, raising hopes among his legal team he could be released, but he remained in prison.

“It is extraordinary, a relief, a total joy. We express our gratitude to all those who mobilized yesterday,” his French distributor, producer Michele Halberstadt, told AFP.

“His next fight is to have the cancellation of his sentence officially recognized. He’s outside, he’s free, and this is already great.”