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Tehran to free jailed film-maker Jafar Panahi

Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi will be released on bail, the country's prosecutor has announced. Panahi, a vocal backer of Iran's opposition movement, has been in jail since March 1.


AFP - Acclaimed Iranian film director Jafar Panahi will be freed on bail, Tehran's public prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said on Monday in a report by ISNA news agency.

"It has been decided that he (Panahi) will be freed on bail," the prosecutor was quoted as saying by ISNA, adding that he had met Panahi at Tehran's notorious Evin prison on Thursday.

"During the meeting his request to be released before the trial was examined and accepted," the prosecutor said, adding that administrative and judicial steps for his release were underway.

Panahi, who has been in jail since March 1, had been invited to join the jury at the just-concluded Cannes film festival but was unable to attend because of his detention. He had begun a hunger strike some 10 days ago.

The celebrated director, who won an award at the 1995 Cannes festival for "The White Balloon" and scooped the Venice film festival's top gong in 2000 for "The Circle," has been a vocal backer of Iran's opposition movement.

He was detained, according to Iran's culture minister, for making an "anti-regime" film about the unrest that rocked the country last year after the disputed re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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