Tehran's prosecutor general has asked the Islamic revolutionary court to reconsider the continued detention of the celebrated Iranian film-maker, Jafar Panahi, raising hopes that he may quickly be freed.
A high-profile international campaign calling for Panahi's release has drawn the support of leading figures in the arts and politics. According to some reports a bail hearing could take place as early as this weekend and could free Panahi until his trial.
Panahi, 49, was detained on 1 March for allegedly planning to make a film about the election which returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to office last year. The vote was believed to have been rigged, triggering widespread protests and a violent crackdown by the regime.
Despite his continued detention, Panahi – who won international recognition for films including The Circle and The White Balloon – was selected as a juror for this year's Cannes film festival, which is due to announce the winner of the Palme d'Or today. His chair has been left empty throughout this year's competition in protest at his incarceration.
Panahi, who has been a vocal supporter of his country's opposition movement, announced last week that he was beginning a hunger strike over the conditions in which he was being held and his continued detention.
The report that his case is to be reconsidered follows the publication of an open letter from 85 Iranian film-makers, calling for him to be given a fair hearing. ... >>>
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