France demands release of jailed Iranian filmmaker
France on Wednesday called on Iran to immediately release jailed filmmaker Jafar Panahi and allow him to take his seat as a member of the jury at the Cannes film festival.
"He is one of the most eminent representatives of Iranian film and his place is at the festival where he has been invited as a member of the jury," said Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand in a joint statement.
Panahi, 49, has been held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison since March 1, when he was arrested by Iranian authorities, reportedly because he was making a film about the disputed 2009 presidential election.
"We call for his immediate release and urge the Tehran authorities to respect the fundamental right of Iranians to freedom of expression and creativity," the ministers added.
© 2010 AFP