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IRAN: Tehran judiciary frees filmmaker Jafar Panahi on $200,000 bail

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A famed Iranian filmmaker jailed in Tehran for allegedly making an illegal movie was released from prison on bail Tuesday, the semiofficial Mehr News Agency reported (in Persian). Jafar Panahi, 49, was jailed more than two months ago after police raided a gathering at his north Tehran home. His arrest and jailing launched an intense campaign by fellow filmmakers worldwide to get him released.

[Updated, 9 a.m. PST: Jafar Panahi’s son, Panah, has posted fresh pictures of his dad, appearing emaciated but in good spirits, to his Facebook page.] Actress Juliette Binoche, after winning the best actress award at Cannes over the weekend, made a public appeal for the release of Panahi, who had been slated to serve as a judge at this year’s festival.

A report by the semiofficial Iranian Labor News Agency (in Persian) said Panahi’s family had put up $200,000 bail to have him released. The Mehr report, citing the judiciary, said prosecutors continue to pursue their case against the filmmaker, who is a vocal supporter of the green-themed opposition movement born of Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential elections.

-- Los Angeles Times

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