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Iranian director denounces arrest of film professionals

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An award-winning Iranian film director said authorities have searched the offices and homes of several filmmakers and other industry professionals and made some arrests.

Mohammad Rasoulof said in a statement signed by dozens of industry professionals, which he posted on his Instagram account on Saturday night, that security forces made arrests and confiscated film production equipment during raids in recent days. The statement condemned these actions calling them “illegal”.

In another post on the social network, Rasoulof identified two of the detainees as filmmakers Firouzeh Khosravani and Mina Keshavarz. Rasoulof was not affected by the latest searches.

Neither the media nor the Iranian authorities commented on the operations and no further details were immediately available. Authorities occasionally detain cultural activists for alleged security violations.

Rasoulof won the first prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 2020 for his film “There Is No Evil” (“The lives of others”), which tells four stories loosely related to the issue of the death penalty in Iran and the personal freedoms under tyranny.

Shortly after receiving the award, he was sentenced to a year in prison for three of his films, which the authorities described as “propaganda against the system.” His lawyer appealed the sentence. In addition, he was prohibited from making movies and traveling abroad.

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