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Iranian filmmaker released after three months in prison

Iranian filmmaker, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, released on bail, as Iranian authorities crackdown on filmmakers

AFP and Ahram Online, Tuesday 13 Dec 2011
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Having spent three months in Evin Prison, Iranian filmmaker Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, was released on bail amounting to $200,000, ISNA reports. He is charged with collaborating with the Persian BBC and "propaganda against the system."

Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, co-director of banned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi's latest film, was among six movie makers arrested by Iranian authorities. Iranian media on September 17 reported the arrest of six filmmakers, but identified them only by their initials.

The others are directors Nasser Saffarian, Hadi Afariden and Shahnama Bazdar, producer Katayoun Shahabi and journalist and documentary filmmaker Mohsen Shahnazdar, said Rahesabz website which represents the opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The filmmakers were arrested at their homes or offices and were transferred to the notorious Evin prison in northern Tehran, relatives said, denouncing a "new offensive" against the filmmaking community.

Mirtahmasb is the notable co-director of "This is not a Film," which he made with Panahi, who has been under house arrest in Iran.

Prior to the arrest Mirtahmasb was prevented from leaving the country to attend the Toronto Film Festival, where his documentary about Panahi was being shown, his spokeswoman said at the time.

The documentary depicts a day in the life of Panahi as he appeals his conviction for "propaganda against the system" by an Iranian court for making a film about unrest after Ahmadinejad's June 2009 disputed re-election.

Panahi was sentenced in December 2010 to six years in prison and slapped with a 20-year filmmaking ban.

At France's Cannes Film Festival in May where his film was screened, Mirtahmasb had spoken about the tense situation for his peers.

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