Iranian authorities have released on bail two prominent documentary filmmakers after holding the women in detention for over a week at a time of protests over price rises, activists said Wednesday.
Mina Keshavarz and Firoozeh Khosravani, who had both been detained on May 7 and held in Tehran’s Evin prison, were released on Tuesday evening, the Bidarzani women’s rights group said.
Their release is temporary and came after the families intervened to bring about their freedom on bail, the group added. Persian-language media based outside of Iran also confirmed their release.
A group of Iranian actors and film directors, including prize-winning Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof, had earlier this week published an open letter condemning the questioning and arrest of several filmmakers in recent days as well as raids on their homes.
The arrests of the filmmakers came as protests continue in Iran over price hikes for basic goods including bread which, according to activists based outside the country, have left several dead and hundreds more detained in a crackdown.
There is so far no indication that other prominent figures caught up in the crackdown have been released.
The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists said at least five journalists and filmmakers had been arrested, all women, also including the freelance photojournalist Reihane Taravati.
The other two held are believed to be documentary filmmakers Parisa Anvari and Shilan Saadi, it said.
“Iran’s ongoing efforts to silence independent voices have landed five female journalists in prison,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour.
“Iranian authorities must understand that they can’t hide the country’s difficult realities by jailing journalists.”
Local Iranian media have also said police arrested prominent academic and author Said Madani on charges of acting “against the security” of the country and of having ties to foreign states.
Outlets based outside Iran have reported that the arrest came after he gave interviews to exiled media describing the challenges the current protests pose to the government.
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