PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 13/032/2001
UA 215/01 Possible Prisoner of Conscience/
Fear for Safety 31 August 2001
IRANTahmineh Reza’i Milani (f), aged 41
Tahmineh Milani, a prominent female film director, has been arrested by Tehran’s
Revolutionary Court, accused of “insulting Islamic values” in her latest film.
Amnesty International considers her to be a prisoner of conscience, arrested
for the non-violent exercise of her right to freedom of expression.
According to the state Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Tehran’s
Revolutionary Court has accused Tahmineh Milani of "abusing the arts as a tool
for actions which will suit the taste of counter-revolutionary and mohareb
groups [those waging war against God]”. Her new film, The Hidden Half, focuses
on rebel activists during the political turmoil of the 1980s following the
Tahmineh Milani is an internationally-recognised director and has been involved
in film-making since 1979. She has directed a number of films: the best-known,
Two Women, has won international awards.
A struggle is taking place in Iran between reformist MPs and the judiciary.
President Khatami’s election in 1997 led to a relaxation of censorship, which
enabled Iranian cinema to challenge religious and political mores.
However, the judicial authorities have recently instigated a widespread
clampdown on freedom of expression, arresting many journalists. Tahmineh Milani
is the first film-maker arrested. The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance
is negotiating with the judiciary to attempt to secure her release.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in
English or your own language:
- expressing concern for film maker Tahmineh Milani, who appears to have been
arrested solely for the peaceful expression of her beliefs, and asking where
she is detained;
- seeking assurances that she is being treated humanely and given prompt and
regular access to her family, lawyers and any medical attention she may need;
- expressing concern that Tahmineh Milani appears to be a prisoner of conscience,
who should be released immediately and unconditionally, and if this is not
the case, asking why she was arrested, what charges she faces;
- reminding the judicial authorities of Article 19 of the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of
expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart
information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally,
in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his
Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Telegrams:Ayatollah Khomeini, Tehran, Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency