Articles & Notes — December 13, 2011 at 4:26 am

Iranian BBC filmmaker released from prison

Iranian filmmaker has been released from Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. Mojtaba Mirtahmaseb was released on December 11, according to opposition websites.

First time he was arrested in September for sending a documentary film to the BBC, about the iranian leadership. Local Iranian news sources have confirmed his release.

Other sources claim that two iranian filmmakers were released by Tehran – Katayoun Shahabi (producer) and Mehran Zinatbakhsh.

Both of them are documentary filmmakers. According to the news, they were released after making bail.

A total of 6 filmmakers were detained by the Iranian authorities on accusations of working for the BBC Persian service.

Naser Safarian and Mohsen Shahnazdar were released on Oct. 8, the Fars news agency reported at the time, citing a statement by the Iranian Documentary Filmmakers Association. Hadi Afarideh, another detainee, was released “in recent weeks,” the ISNA reported on Wednesday.

The BBC says the six were not staff or commissioned workers but rather independent filmmakers whose films had appeared on its Persian service. Last week, the broadcaster alleged Iranian authorities were harassing relatives of its London-based employees.

A week after the filmmakers’ arrests, Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi accused British spy agencies of launching “new destructive and anti-Iranian activities under cover of BBC Farsi.”

Iranian officials have charged the BBC with fuelling unrest that broke out following the controversial 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The BBC’s Persian-language service is banned in Iran, but Iranians can watch the program via satellite.

The Iranian government accuses the BBC of broadcasting “antirevolutionary programs” to fuel unrest and has banned Iranian reporters and filmmakers from cooperating with the network.

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