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Amnesty International

Iran: Further information: Second filmmaker released on bail: Mohammad Ali Shirzadi

Amnesty International
June 24, 2010
Appeal/Urgent Action

Further information on UA: 107/10

Index: MDE13/067/2010

Filmmaker Mohammad Ali Shirzadi was released on bail from Evin Prison in Tehran on 19 June. He is due to face trial in the next few weeks on charges relating to an interview he filmed between a human rights defender and a senior dissident cleric. If convicted and imprisoned, Amnesty International would consider him to be a prisoner of conscience.

Filmmaker Mohammad Ali Shirzadi was arrested by five unidentified men on 4 January 2010. He is a member of the Association for the Defence of Prisoners' Rights, an NGO founded by prominent Iranian human rights defender Emadeddin Baghi. The office of the organization was closed down by the authorities in September 2009. His family had no news about his whereabouts for 40 days before learning that he was in Evin prison. Mohammad Ali Shirzadi was arrested because an interview he filmed around two years ago, between Emadeddin Baghi and outspoken cleric Grand Ayatollah Montazeri was shown on BBC Persian TV in December 2009, shortly after the Grand Ayatollah's death. Emadeddin Baghi was also arrested afterwards and was released on bail on 23 June 2010 (see UA: 05/10 Index: MDE 13/003/2010 and follow-up).

Fellow filmmaker Ja’far Panahi was previously released on bail on 25 May 2010, after more than two months in detention.

Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian authorities to drop any charges against Mohammad Ali Shirzadi and Ja’far Panahi relating to their peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression.

Protests in 2009 at the disputed outcome of the election were violently repressed, with scores killed. Thousands were arrested, many of whom were tortured or otherwise ill-treated, often to obtain forced “confessions”. Hundreds have been tried unfairly, including in mass “show trials”, many of whom are serving long-prison terms, often as prisoners of conscience. Some have been sentenced to death, and two executed.

For further information please see, From Protest to Prison: Iran One Year after the Election, (Index MDE 13/062/2010), June 2010, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE13/062/2010/en and Iran: Election Contested, Repression Compounded (Index MDE 13/123/2009), December 2009,http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE13/123/2009/en.

No further action is requested from the UA network. Many thanks to all who sent appeals. Amnesty International will take further action if Ja'far Panahi and Mohammad Ali Shirzadi are detained again.