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Jafar Panahi officially released from jail on bail

Joshua Brunsting

by: Joshua Brunsting
May 26th, 2010

Early this past March, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was imprisoned in his native country.

The filmmaker was allegedly imprisoned for filming an “anti-regime film about the unrest that rocked the country last year after the disputed re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”  He was arrested along with his wife, daughter, and 15 other house guests who were all taken into custody, but unlike Panahi, found a rather speedy release.

Now, nearly three months later, the filmmaker has finally been released on bail (according to the French press).

This announcement comes after prosecutors in Tehran received Panahi’s recent request to be released prior to his upcoming trial, and officials agreed.  The filmmaker is best known as director of films like THE WHITE BALLOON and THE CIRCLE, which led him to take home awards from the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals respectively.

During his imprisonment, the filmmaker found himself the subject of massive outcries of support from the likes of Abbas Kiarostami, to even the entirety of the French government; and was even given a seat on the jury of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which he unfortunately could not attend.

This news came over the weekend, a few days after the filmmaker announced that he was not only requesting to be released,  but  that he also had started his hunger strike, which he would not complete until after he was released (the above photo is actually the first photo taken of the filmmaker since being released). While he has an entirely different beast ahead of him in the form of his trial, this is immensely good news.  More on this one as it develops, as it will indeed do just that.

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