Accessibility links

Breaking News

Iranian Filmmaker Reportedly Beaten In Prison

Mohammad Noorizad
Mohammad Noorizad
Prominent Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Noorizad has been beaten in prison while on a hunger strike, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Noorizad's wife, Fateme Maliki, said on May 21 that she had been informed about her husband's attack on the night of May 20. She said she would meet in person with him today to see his condition.

Maliki said Noorizad was on a walk in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison last week when he was assaulted by five men. He was taken to the prison's clinic where doctors said he had suffered head injuries. He reportedly has problems with his eyesight as a result of the attack.

Noorizad was on the third day of a hunger strike when he was attacked. According to his wife, prison officials have forced Noorizad to take fluids.

"We insisted [to the authorities] to not allow him to continue with the hunger strike, as the effects of it could be severe," Maliki said.

Noorizad had been tried by a revolutionary court this spring on charges of "insulting government officials" and "propaganda against the government."

The charges stemmed from a letter Noorizad wrote to Iranian Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Noorizad blamed Khamenei for bloodshed stemming from the crackdown on opposition activists which followed Iran's disputed presidential election last June.

Khamenei had warned opposition protesters they would be responsible for any violence stemming from the protests. In his letter, Noorizad wrote Khamenei: "We used to threaten our enemies before, now it it has gotten to the point where we threaten our own people?"

Noorizad was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison along with 50 lashes.

In addition to his film work, Noorizad also been an important journalist.

Noorizad worked until 2007 for the daily "Keyhan," a newspaper known for its close links to Khamenei. He had been known as a voice critical of Iran's reformists.

However, Noorizad turned against the government, especially after the disputed election last June.

He told Radio Farda in September that "as someone who has spent a great part of his youth dedicated to the stability of this nation, I challenge the high officials of this government. I invite them to answer to the people of this country."

He said at the time that he was prepared to face the consequences for his opposition activism.

Renowned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi is also being held in Evin prison on security charges.