Hollywood Joins in Solidarity for Filmmakers Jailed in Iran

Members of the Hollywood film community have joined in solidarity to support the release of six filmmakers jailed in Iran, according to the Associated Press.

Hollywood organizations and entertainment unions, such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, American Society of Cinematographers, International Documentary Association and American Cinema Editors released statements Wednesday condemning the jailing of six independent filmmakers in Iran last month.

The groups, which were also joined by guilds representing directors, writers, actors and producers, also urged the Iranians to release other artists who are imprisoned for making movies.

This past week, it was reported that an Iranian actress was sentenced to one year in prison and 90 lashes for appearing in a film which cast a critical eye at the Iranian government.

The BBC reported of the group back in September, and explained that BBC's Farsi-language service had bought the rights to their films but had not commissioned the work. The broadcaster also reported that the signal for its BBC Persian service was frequently jammed.

Recently, the Iranian Government has been involved in a number of high-profile detentions of individuals due to political and religious concerns.

Three Americans - Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shroud - were apprehended by Iranians and charged with espionage in 2009 after they allegedly crossed into Iranian territory, while hiking in northern Iraq. Although Shroud was released in 2010, Fattal and Bauer were imprisoned for more than two years and were finally reunited with their families in September.

Recently, the world has focused attention on Iranian Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been jailed on the charge of apostasy and is possibly facing execution. International organizations and the world community have pleaded with the Iranian government for his release, yet Nadarkhani is still being held.

The Hollywood filmmaking groups have urged Iranian officials "to remember that these are artists, not political enemies, [and that] they have, as all free people do, the right to hold and express opinions."

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