IRAN: Activist and documentary filmmaker seized; reasons undisclosed


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Renowned filmmaker Mahnaz Mohammadi was taken from her Tehran home Sunday by unidentified security forces for ‘unknown’ reasons, reported the Iranian opposition website Kaleme.

According to the website of former premier Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the prominent women’s rights activist may have been seized by intelligence services of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.


Her arrest, the second in three years, has not been reported by Iranian state media.

The widely acclaimed filmmaker was also arrested in August 2009 at Beheshte Zahra cemetery as she was laying a wreath on the grave of Neda Ahga-Soltan, a 26-year-old woman who was fatally shot during security crackdowns on protests against the reelection of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mohammadi, director of the acclaimed short documentary ‘Women Without Shadows,’ also contributed to filmmaker Rakhsan Bani-Etemad’s documentary about Iran’s disputed presidential election in 2009.

The new wave of arrests also included Maryam Majd, a passionate women’s right campaigner.

The rights activist, photojournalist and sports reporter was arrested Friday and is being held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

‘Maryam was arrested on the eve of her flight to Germany to report a sports event,’ said a close friend who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

According to, Majd is being held in a section of the prison controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.


Mohammadi’s arrest came a day before a group of 18 political prisoners announced the end of their 9-day hunger strike on Monday, the opposition site reported.

The inmates, 15 of whom are in Evin, went on a hunger strike to protest the sudden deaths of Haleh Sahani and Hoda Saber, which occurred only a few days apart.

The recent purge of reform advocates comes amid preparations for parliamentary elections set to take place in March.

-- Roula Hajjar in Beirut and Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran