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A call to free Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi

Our colleagues at the Seattle film community-fueled blog Parallax View posted a petition yesterday calling for the release of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who was arrested along with his wife, daughter and several dinner guest when his home was raided on March 1st (Click here for the BBC report). Here's the text of the petition from local film critic Kathleen Murphy: In March 2010, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon, The Circle, Crimson Gold and Offside) was arrested and locked up in Tehran's Evin prison, initially for "unspecified crimes," then on charges directly related to his work. Though Mr. Panahi's award-winning films have brought credit to his native land, his countrymen have been banned from seeing his work during the last ten years. Worse yet, this outstanding director has essentially been prevented from making movies in recent years. Panahi suffers from a heart condition and there are serious concerns about his health. Filmmakers, film festivals and film critics all over the world have protested the incarceration of Mr. Panahi, a respected artist who should enjoy the freedom to make and screen movies for the pleasure and admiration of audiences everywhere. As members of the film community in Seattle, Washington, we the undersigned deplore the detention of Jafar Panahi and strongly urge the government of Iran to release him immediately. The list of the Parallax View petition signers continues to grow, all adding their names to the strong international outcry from film festivals, organizations and fellow directors denouncing the continued detention of Panahi and his family. You can sing the Free Jafar Panahi Petition here and learn more about what you can do to help Panahi and all of Iran's political prisoners here. [caption id="attachment_3413" align="aligncenter" width="195" caption="Jarar Panahi"][/caption]