According to a statement sent by his wife on Thursday, renowned Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who has been imprisoned for the past six months, said he has started a hunger strike to protest his confinement.
Even before the current wave of protests that have rocked the administration began in September, Panahi, whose films have received awards at all of Europe’s major film festivals, was taken into custody in July.
The judiciary was supposed to be able to order his release last month, but he is still detained in Tehran’s Evin jail.
According to the statement, he began his dry hunger strike on Wednesday and has since stopped taking food and drink.
“Today, like many people trapped in Iran, I have no choice but to protest against this inhumane behaviour with my dearest possession — my life,” said Panahi.
“In protest against the illegal and inhumane behaviour of the judicial and security apparatus and this hostage-taking, I have started a dry hunger strike as of February 1. I will refuse to eat and drink any food and medicine until the time of my release.
“I will remain in this state until perhaps my lifeless body is freed from prison.”
Panahi, 62, was detained on July 11 and was scheduled to begin serving a six-year term from a 2010 judgment for “propaganda against the regime.”
However, on October 15, the Supreme Court overturned the verdict and mandated a new trial, giving his legal team hope that he would be set free.