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Iranian Cultural Figures Call For Release Of Detained Colleagues

The imprisonment of actress Marzyeh Vafamehr is one of the detentions criticized in a new statement by leading Iranian cultural figures.
More than 80 Iranian cultural figures are calling for the release of jailed fellow artists and the review of the verdicts handed down to them, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The writers, poets, painters, photographers, actors, and musicians say in a statement that so many cultural figures are being held in Iranian jails that some prisons could be called "the house of artists."

The statement, published on the opposition website Jaras on September 12, specifically criticizes the detention of actress Marzieh Vafamehr, actor Ramin Parchami, directors Jafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mahnaz Mohammadi, actress Pegah Ahangarani, and photojournalist Maryam Majd, some of whom are still being held in prison.

Parchami was arrested in Tehran on February 14 during the protests in solidarity with the democratic uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. He is being held in Tehran's Evin prison.

Vafamehr was taken into custody in July. Her husband, Nasser Taghvai, a prominent film director and screenwriter, told Radio Farda at the time that the charges against her were nonpolitical and are related to the movie "My Tehran For Sale," in which she played the lead role. Taghvai said Vafamehr is being held at Gharchak prison in a Tehran suburb.

The signatories to the statement include novelist Shahrnoush Parsipour, poet Majid Nafisi, cartoonist Mana Neyestani, and photographer Hassan Sarbakhshian.

Read in Farsi here