Jafar Panahi with his award Photo: Courtesy of Antalya Film Festival
The Venice Golden Lion and Berlin Golden Bear-winning Iranian filmmaker was reportedly arrested after going to Evin prison in Tehran to inquire about two other film directors, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-e Ahmad, being held there.
Rasoulof and Al-e Ahmad were accused of "inciting unrest" over social media posts about a building collapse that left 40 dead.
Taxi director Panahi, 62, was previously arrested in 2010 for supporting anti-government protests and was sentenced to six years and banned from filmmaking for 20 years. It is this sentence he has now been ordered to serve.
A judiciary spokesman said: “Panahi had been sentenced in 2010 to a total of six years in prison… and therefore he was entered to the detention centre of Evin to serve his sentence there.”
Panahi is well known internationally, after winning Cannes Camera d'Or in 1995. He won the Golden Lion for The Circle in 2000 and the Golden Bear in 2015 for Taxi and also took home Antalya's top prize for Three Faces.
The Cannes Film Festival was among those raising an outcry internationally. It said it “strongly condemns these arrests as well as the wave of repression obviously in progress in Iran against its artists. The festival calls for the immediate release of Mohammad Rasoulof, Mostafa Aleahmad and Jafar Panahi”.