On 1 February 2023, the filmmaker Jafar Panahi began a hunger strike to protest against his imprisonment in Evin prison in Tehran. Imprisoned since July 2022, he was serving a six-year sentence handed down in 2010 for "propaganda against the system". He was released on bail two days later, on 3 February.
His initiative was shared with his lawyers and relayed on Instagram by his wife, Tahereh Saeidi. He declared: "Today, like many people trapped in Iran, I have no choice but to protest against this inhumane behaviour with what I value most: my life. I will refuse to eat and drink and take any medication until I am released."
Jafar Panahi is an award-winning and internationally acclaimed filmmaker in Iran. Although his protests have won him a case, he remains under house arrest and is banned from directing and writing, and speaking in the media.
Far from being an isolated phenomenon, his arrest testifies to an extremely risky and precarious situation for Iranian artists as protests have raged since 2021, aggravated by the death of Mahsa Amini last September.