Iranian renowned film director Jafar Panahi described his arrest by authorities last Monday as “theft” and “kidnapping.”

In his first phone call with his wife, Tahira Saidi, after he was transferred to Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, Panahi said that prison officials did not allow him access to medical services.

His wife also noted that she was prevented from meeting her husband to hand over his personal affairs, medicines and medical shoes, according to an audio recording published by the London-based Iran International channel.

Panahi is the third Iranian director to be arrested in less than a week.

Panahi was arrested by security forces when he was at the prosecutor’s office in Tehran on Monday evening to check on the cases of his two colleagues, Mohamad Rasoulof and Mostafa al-Ahmad, media reports said.

Rasoulof and al-Ahmad were accused of undermining the nation’s security by voicing opposition on social media to the government’s violent crackdown on unrest in the country’s southwest.

Panahi, 62, is one of Iran’s best-known dissident filmmakers. He won international awards, including the top prize in Berlin for “Taxi Tehran” in 2015, and best screenplay at Cannes for his film “Three Faces” in 2018. Following his support for anti-government protests, he was arrested in 2010. He was later convicted of “propaganda against the system”, sentenced to six years in jail and banned from directing or writing films for 20 years.

He has also been banned from leaving Iran or speaking to the media.

On Tuesday, the Venice film festival called for the ‘immediate release’ of the Iranian filmmaker.

In a statement, La Biennale di Venezia said it was “deeply dismayed” by the reported arrests of Panahi on Monday, and Rasoulof and Aleahmad on Friday.

“La Biennale di Venezia joins its own voice to the many that are now speaking out in the world to condemn the repressive actions underway,” the statement said.

It also demanded the immediate liberation of the directors arrested for defending the right to freedom of expression and creation.

Source » aawsat