We, the undersigned, are most worried about the recent arrests of five Iranian filmmakers, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Nasser Saffarian, Hadi Afarideh, Mohsen Shahrnazdar and the film producer and distributor, Katayoune Shahabi on 18 September 2011.
The families and the lawyers of the filmmakers have been banned from visiting them, and the families have been forced to remain silent about the situation of their loved ones. Many other Iranian filmmakers have been warned that they would suffer the same fate in the future. Filmmaker and actress Marzieh Vafamehr was imprisoned in July for acting in a movie and director of photography, Tooraj Aslani, was banned from leaving Iran because of working on film outside of Iran.
The independent association House of Cinema in Iran, a body composed of a number of trade guilds, issued a press release in defense of the arrested filmmakers and questioned the government's approach to the filmmakers.
House of Cinema's action was immediately condemned by the government media who accused the institution of working with "foreign enemies of the state." Certain members of Iranian government have accused the filmmakers of espionage and treason. The charges made by pro-government media, certain members of the parliament, three pro-government filmmakers, twelve Islamic student associations and the website of Islamic Republic of Iran's Broadcasting (IRIB) can result in long prison sentences in Iran.
A number of Iranian artists and filmmaker in Europe, Canada, the United States and different countries around the world have created the Committee in Defense of Imprisoned Filmmakers: email@example.com
We the undersigned support the actions of the Committee in Defense of Imprisoned Filmmakers. We urge the Iranian government to release the imprisoned filmmakers and stop the intimidation and harassment of filmmakers in the future.