Jafar Panahi’s wife Tahereh Saeedi issued a fresh appeal for her imprisoned husband to be released as his period of captivity entered 200 days, in an Instagram post on Thursday.
Her statement follows the news at the weekend that Panahi was possibly on the verge of being released on bail after his lawyer Saleh Nikbakht successfully challenged his detention in the Supreme Court last October.
“Last week, the news came that Jafar will be released within the week. We were happy again and felt better. Today, a week has passed, and Jafar hasn’t come. Exactly 200 days have passed since Jafar was imprisoned. We are disappointed,” she wrote.
Panahi was arrested in early July amid a crackdown on freedom of expression, after going to a prosecutor’s office in Tehran to enquire the about whereabouts of filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad following their detention a few days previously.
It was announced a few days later that the Iranian authorities had decided to reactivate a six-year sentence originally meted out to Panahi in 2010 alongside a 20-year filmmaking and travel ban.
The director, whose award-winning works include The White Balloon, The Circle, Taxi and most recently No Bears, has not travelled outside of the country since then.
The charges and sentence were connected to his attendance at the funeral in 2009 of a student shot dead in the Green Revolution and his later attempt to shoot a feature set against the backdrop of the uprising.
Nikbakht had argued successfully that the six-year sentence had passed Iran’s 10-year statute of limitations period and was no longer applicable.
“Jafar should have been released immediately on bail, but he was not,” wrote Saeedi in her post.
According to Nikbakht, the Court of Appeal had pledged to examine and take a decision on the case by the end of this week but by Wednesday evening there have been no further developments.
The working week runs from Saturday to Wednesday with most public and governmental offices off on Thursday and Friday.
“Because the necessity of Jafar’s freedom is based on the laws that they accept, they are the ones whose actions are beyond the law,” wrote Saeedi.
Panahi is being held in Iran’s notorious Evin jail. It was reported by local media last week that Rasoulof had been given a two-week release permit on January 7 for health reasons.
Iranian media reports over the weekend about Panahi’s potential release suggested he too had been ill with a skin complaint.
Panahi’s detention preceded Iran’s ongoing popular “Women, Life, Freedom” uprising sparked by the killing of Mahsa Amini while in police custody on September 16 for not wearing her hijab in accordance with Iran’s religion-based law.
Since then thousands of protestors have been arrested alongside journalists and members of the sporting and entertainment world who have gotten behind calls for a regime change.
The Islamic Republic government has attempted to quell the protests with force and has recently begun executing protestors. Four men have been executed for their role in the demonstrations so far and another 100 people are reported to be on death row on protest-related charges.
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