Iran: arrest of two filmmakers for “disturbing public order”

Iran: arrest of two filmmakers for “disturbing public order”

Iranian authorities have arrested two filmmakers accused of “disturbing public order” for encouraging protests after the deadly collapse of a building in the southwest of the country in May, reports the Iranian news agency Irna. Overseas award winner Mohammad Rasoulof and his colleague Mostafa Aleahmad were, according to the official agency, arrested on Friday for “encouraging protests and disturbing public order and public safety, while the city d’Abadan lived a heartbreaking drama”, in reference to the collapse of a building on May 23 which killed 43 people.

“It is tragic that artists are imprisoned”

The Metropol building, under construction in Abadan, one of the main cities of the province of Khouzestan, in the south-west of the country, partially collapsed in the heart of a busy street. This disaster, one of the deadliest in years in Iran, has led to a series of demonstrations across the country in solidarity with the families of the victims and against the authorities, accused of corruption and incompetence. The organizers of the Berlinale film festival, which awarded Mohammad Rasoulof the supreme distinction two years ago, protested against these arrests and demanded the release of the two artists.

“We are concerned about the arrest of Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad. It is tragic that artists are imprisoned for their peaceful commitment against violence”, underlined the directing duo of the Berlinale, Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian, in a communicated.

Call on the security forces “to lay down their arms”

In Iran, protesters called for “incompetent officials”, responsible for the tragedy, to be tried and punished. During the protests, Iranian police used tear gas, fired warning shots and made arrests. Led by Mohammad Rasoulof, a group of Iranian filmmakers released an open letter in late May calling on security forces “to lay down their arms” in the face of anger over “corruption, theft, incompetence and repression”, which had led to the collapse of the building. Mohammad Rasoulof, 50, won the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2020 for his film The Devil does not exist but he could not go to Germany. His passport had been confiscated after his previous feature film in 2017 A man of integritypresented at Cannes, where it won the prize in the “Un Certain Regard” category.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.