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The release of Mohammad Rasoulof from Iran’s Evin prison

Mohammad Rasoulof, winner of the 2020 Golden Bear in Berlin for the film “There is No Evil,” has been temporarily released from Tehran’s Evin Prison after being arrested last July for criticizing the government on social media.

Rasoulof, 50, was jailed on July 8 after he made a plea urging Iranian security forces to stop using weapons during the May protests sparked by a building collapse in the southwestern city of Abadan. He has now been released for health reasons and is at home, according to several reports confirmed by local sources.

But although he was officially released, it is not clear how long Rasulov will remain free.

“My client’s detention has been suspended for two weeks for health reasons,” the principal’s lawyer, Maryam Kyanirisi, told Agence France-Presse, adding that he was “released on Saturday.”

Shargh, Iran’s leading reformist newspaper, reported that Rasoulof had been released from prison but did not provide further information.

Rasoulof’s potential provisional release follows the release earlier this month of fellow esteemed director Jafar Panahi, a close friend, who was released from Tehran’s Evin Prison on February 3 after announcing he had begun a hunger strike. Panahi will be released on bail and his case will be reviewed in March.

Rasoulof is considered one of the most prominent Iranian directors, although none of his films were shown in Iran, where they were banned. In 2011, the year he won two prizes at Cannes for his censorship-themed Farewell, he and Panahi were sentenced to six years in prison and a 20-year film-making ban for alleged anti-regime propaganda. His sentence was later suspended and he was released on bail. In 2017, Iranian authorities confiscated Rasoulof’s passport upon his return from the Telluride Film Festival where his film “Man of Integrity” about corruption and injustice in Iran was shown.

The Iranian authorities did not allow Rasulov to attend Berlin in 2020. That year, the daughter of the director, Baran Rasulov, who stars in the movie “There is No Evil,” was awarded the Golden Bear.


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