HRW: Iran should release or charge famed filmmaker
The Associated Press

An international human rights group on Saturday called on Iran to either charge or release an acclaimed Iranian filmmaker who backed the country's opposition.

Jafar Panahi was taken into custody nearly two weeks ago by Iranian security forces during a raid on the filmmaker's Tehran home. A state prosecutor has said Panahi's detention is not political and that the filmmaker is suspected of committing unspecified "offenses."

Human Rights Watch noted that Panahi and fellow filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof, who was picked up along with Panahi, have not been charged since being arrested on March 1. In a statement released Saturday, the rights group also criticized Tehran for providing no legal basis for the filmmakers' continued detention.

"The Iranian authorities should either charge these men or release them immediately," said Sarah Leah Whitson, the rights group's Middle East director.

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