At Hopi’s AGM on February 12 2011, John McDonnell MP launched this important new campaign. We will hold a first open organising meeting soon, so please get in touch if you want to get involved. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mark on 07950 416 922. Continue reading
With comedy from Shappi Khorsandi and an introduction by John McDonnell MP. The event is co-sponsored by the Labour Representation Committee (click here to read their letter, urging support for the event). For details of screenings in Glasgow and Manchester, click here)
Wednesday, May 12, 6pm. Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, London W1
Jafar Panahi – the well known Iranian film maker – was arrested on March 1 and is still being held without any charges. He has twice been offered bail, but has refused in solidarity with all those incarcerated for their participation in the mass demonstrations against the regime that have shaken Iran since June 2009.
The Hopi showing of the director’s most popular film in the West – ‘Offside’ – is an important opportunity to raise the profile of Panahi and step up the pressure on the regime in Tehran. We believe that international solidarity of this sort – not the threat of military strikes or sanctions – is the way to deliver effective aid to the struggle of ordinary people in Iran for freedom and social change.
- Please let us know if you can distribute leaflets and we’ll send you some. Maybe your union branch is planning a mailout soon?
- Even if you can’t come, perhaps you could sponsor the event by making a donation? You can do so on http://hopoi.org/?p=1195
- You could also try to get your organisation/trade union branch to sponsor the event.
Tickets: £10 (£20 solidarity, £5 unwaged). All profits go to the charity ‘Workers Fund Iran’. Please buy your ticket via Paypal here or by sending a cheque/postal order to PO Box 54631, London N16 8YE
You can also get a new copy of the film from us – we recommend a donation of £10 to cover all costs. Just add the amount when you’re paying.
“We the undersigned call for the immediate and unconditional release of Iranian film maker, Jafar Panahi, and all political prisoners incarcerated since the mass democratic upsurges against the theocratic regime in the aftermath of the rigged elections of June 2009.
The Iranian people themselves must be free to shape their own future; free from interference either from the western powers/Israel in the form of military attack and sanctions, or the repressive apparatus of the theocratic state.
Hands off the people of Iran!”
Initial signatories include:
- John McDonnell MP, Labour Party
- Lisa Goldman, artistic director Soho Theatre
- Jeremy Dear, general secretary National Union of Journalists
- Moshe Machover, Israeli activist
- Nader Sadeh (Berlin)
To add your name, email email@example.com as soon as possible. We are aiming to publicise this statement in many newspapers and websites. You can also join the Facebook group to Free Jafar Panahi, which keeps you updated with the campaign
Other signatories include:
Yassamine Mather; Hopi
Ruben Markarian, Rahe Kargar;
Mohamad Reza Shalgouni, Rahe Kargar;
Harry Cohen MP;
Pete Firmin (joint secretary and president, Brent Trades Union Council – pc);
Bill Wilson, member of the Scottish Parliament;
Anthony Neilson, Writer/ Director and Literary Associate of the RSC;
Marsha Jane Thompson, Labour Representation Committee;
Elaine Smith, member of Scottish Parliament;
Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Writer;
Dr Sue Blackwell, National Executive Committee (elect), University and College Union
Andy Hewett, Green Left;
Jenny Morgan, filmmaker;
Peter Grant, Manchester Piccadilly No1 Branch, ASLEF;
Priya Thakar, University of Manchester;
Chuck Hamilton, Tennessee Human Rights Coalition;
Mark Fischer, Communist Party of Great Britain
Behrooz Farahany, Solidarité socialiste avec les travailleurs en Iran-Paris;
Keith Baker, chair Scottish Education and Action for Development;
Paul Frost, East Midlands Green Party T U Group Rep, Unison member;
Christina Purcell, Manchester Met UCU Campaigns Officer (pc);
Dr. Marsha Levine, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research;
Abe Hayeem, Chair, Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine;
Dieter Elken, Marxist Initiative, Berlin;
Mick Hall, Organized Rage;
Aleksander Glogowski PhD, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland;
Regi Theodor Enerstvedt, professor emeritus, University of Oslo, Norway;
Anders B Jonasson, senior lecturer, University of Skövde;
Ali Reza Akhavan;
Prof. Haim Bresheeth;
Dr. Mehrdad Emadi;
Ann M. Crosby;
Joanne George Wills;
Rachel Archer ;
B. Plant ;
Ali Reza Akhavan;
John S. Burke,
Nadia Marques de Carvalho;
Dr. A. Holberg, Germany;
Maud Bracke, University of Glasgow;
ارژنگ بامشاد Arjang Bamshad
احمد نوین Ahmad Novin
امیر جواهری لنگرودی Amir Javaheri Langaroudi
رفعت لنگرودی Rafat Langaroudi
گیلک جواهری لنگرودی Gilak Javaheri Langaroudi
هما جوادی Homa Javadi
ابوالحسن عظیمی Abolhassan Azimi
عیدی نعمتی شاعر Aydi Nemati (Poet)
سیاووش میرزایی شاعر Siavash Mirzaii (Poet)
رضا چیت ساز Reza Chitsaz
داریوش ارجمندی Dariush Arjmandi
پریسا آزادیان Parissa Azadyan
مریم اسکویی Maryam Oskoui
فریدا سهابیان Frida Sohrabyan
سیران مرادیان Siran Moradyan
شهاب شکوهی Shahb Shokouhi
یوسف آبخونYoussef Abkhoun
پروین شکوهی Parvin Shokouhi
نقی ریاحی لنگرودی Naghi Riyahi Langaroudi
سروژ قازاریان Sorouj Ghazaryan
نجف روحی Najaf Rouhi
حمید آذر Hamid Azar
رضا سپید روحی Reza Sepid Rouhi
علی جالینوسی Ali Jalinous
احمد شکوهی Ahmad Shokouhi
بهرنگ ریاحی لنگرودی Behrang Riyahi Langaroudi
محمد تجلی جو Mohamad Tajali Jou
بهروز نظری Behrouz nazari
صادق افروز Sadegh Afrouz
احمد سعیدی Ahmad Saiidi
علی یوسفی Ali Youssefi
نگار فکری- Negar Fekri
Bettina Allamoda (Berlin), artist
Over two months since his arrest, Panahi, whose most famous films are the widely acclaimed The circle (winner of the Golden Lion prize at the Vienna film festival in 2000) and Offside, has still not been charged with any crime. Twice offered bail during that time, he has refused out of solidarity with all those incarcerated for their participation in the mass demonstrations against the regime that have shaken Iran since June 2009.
His detention is the most serious example of the treatment Panahi has suffered so far. Up to now, the theocratic regime has been conducting a campaign of harassment against the 49-year-old artist. He has been unable to travel abroad since wearing a green scarf – the colour of the opposition movement – at the Montreal Film Festival in 2009. He was also arrested briefly after attending the memorial service for student Neda Agha Soltan, who was murdered by regime forces during a demonstration. Earlier the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance had announced he would not be allowed to make another movie until he ‘re-edited’ earlier films and he was unable to work for a year.
There is a clear theme of social criticism in his work. In a 2007 interview with the LA Times, Panahi described himself as “a socially committed filmmaker” who operates in the context of a brutally oppressive society: “My movies are about limitations and restrictions, and these are restrictions that I’ve personally experienced.” However, those are minor relative to “the greater restrictions that Iranian women are suffering”, he said.
The prison authorities are piling on the pressure. His wife, Tahereh Saeedi, was only allowed to meet him on March 31 – almost a month after his arrest. She reports that his interrogators continually cover the same ground: “They keep asking him the same questions in order to find contradictions in his comments,” Saeedi revealed in a radio interview.
Moshé Machover, a member of the Hopi steering committee, commented in a press statement: “Jafar Panahi has taken a brave stance. He stands shoulder to shoulder with those brave participants in the mass movement of opposition to the theocratic regime that have been arrested. Now we must stand shoulder to shoulder with him.”
Comrade Machover continued: “Our most effective act of solidarity with the inspiring movement for radical change that has filled Iran’s streets is to ensure that imperialism does not launch another disastrous military adventure in the Middle East, this time against an Iran which is pregnant with radical, genuinely democratic change from below”.
John McDonnell MP, a supporter of Hopi, said: “The world must make its voice heard in demanding that Jafar Panahi is released without charge along with all those incarcerated for nothing more than demanding basic civil liberties and democratic rights. These violations of basic human rights must not be allowed to go unnoticed and without protest.”
Eight things you can do now:
- Send emails, faxes and letters of protest to the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 16 Prince’s Gate, London SW7 1PT; firstname.lastname@example.org; 020 7589 4440. Don’t forget to send us a copy.
- Sign our statement ‘Freedeom for Jafar Panahi and all political prisoners’ Email email@example.com
- Join the Facebook group to Free Jafar Panahi, which keeps you updated with the campaign
- Put on showings of Panahi’s films: The wounded head (1988), Kish (1991), The last exam (1992), The circle (2000), Crimson gold (2003) and above all Offside (2006). We have been given official permission to show his films, so we can help you to get hold get a copy of the film and DVDs to sell. We can also provide a speaker to introduce the film
- Order Hopi’s ‘Free Panahi’ postcards. Get people to sign the cards and return them to us asap – we will forward them to his family in Iran to show our solidarity. We ask for a donation of £5 or more for 30 cards to cover postage and printing costs
- Order the A4 bulletin we have produced to highlight Panahi’s case (as well as the ongoing threat of a military attack and increased sanctions). We ask for a donation of £5 or more for 30 bulletins to cover postage and printing costs
- Get your trade union branch/organisation to sponsor this important campaign.
- Financially support the campaign: please use the Paypal button below or send cheque/s to Hopi, PO Box 54631, London N16 8YE
- Click here to read our March 5 press release