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Iran Document: Jafar Panahi's Wife on His Detention & Health

A letter from Taherah Saeedi, wife of the renowned film director Jafar Panahi, about her husband’s condition in a small solitary confinement cell. Originally published on Rooz Online and reprinted by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran:

After a whole month in limbo, we were finally able to meet Jafar. I found him very pale, thin, and weak. Though he didn’t like to worry us and talk about his psychological and physical condition, through his words we found out that he has been moved from his previous cell to a smaller cell, or I’d better say a smaller crypt.

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In his old cell he had enough space to spend some time daily on exercising, but in his new cell with a cellmate this is no longer possible, as there is only space for two people to sleep in the cell and there is no room for moving around. Also, since he was arrested a month ago, he has not been allowed to go to the prison yard for fresh air (and it has happened that he has stayed in his cell for 7-8 days without seeing anyone).

Every possible way has been used for breaking his spirit. He is deprived of his basic and legal rights. Can all of this be called anything but torture? Does a regime have he right to treat one of its artistic elite so shamefully and inhumanely on the basis of a film that has not yet been made?

During a phone call, they allowed me to take him fruits, nuts, and cookies for Nowruz [New Year], but when I went to see him, they wouldn’t let me give the items to him and only allowed me to give him some money. Jafar said he has never gone to the prison store during this time and, as such, it makes no difference to him whether he has money or not.

Though he has been strong in his interrogations and has not bowed to his interrogators, maintaining a good spirit, his face and words brim with sadness. During our meeting, for a moment, Jafar put his hand on his chest and his face contorted. Soulmaz [their daughter] and Jafar’s mother were there, so I couldn’t ask him about it.

In the past, twice he has suffered severe chest spasms and has been moved to emergency room. [Back then] his physician said the reason for the spasms was psychological and a result of his work-related problems, advising us that a continuation of this condition is dangerous and could lead to a heart attack. Aside from his holding crypt and the lengthy interrogation, I am really worried about Jafar’s physical condition. I hope all prisoners are released.

Reader Comments (2)

prisoners of conscience

light a candle
your voice for justice
behind the prison walls

April 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBjarne Kim Pedersen

Here's a video the Centre Culturel POUYA in Paris put together for Jafa Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof:

Centre Culturel POUYA:

April 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

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