Mahnaz Mohammadi
Mahnaz Mohammadi

The imprisonment of Iranian filmmaker, actress, and women's rights activist Mahnaz Mohammadi since June 7 has sparked international concern and outrage. 

Mohammadi has been sentenced to a five-year stint at the notorious Evin prison for "plotting against state security" and "propaganda" against the Iranian government. The Evin prison outside Tehran is sometimes referred to as "Evin University" for the large number of political prisoners and intellectuals incarcerated there.

Mohammadi's apparent crime is shooting a documentary about feminist activists in the contested 2009 presidential election for outlawed Western outlets, including BBC Persia, as well as Al-Jazeera. 

"I have never worked with the BBC, and none of my films have ever been broadcasted on this network," protested Mohammadi earlier this month. 

The filmmaker was previously jailed at Evin for a month for her contributions to Rakhshan Bani-Etemad's documentary We Are Half of Iran's Population, which spotlights feminist demands during the disputed 2009 election. 

France's Film Directors' Guild has called Mohammadi's imprisonment a "new attack made to freedom of creation and expression in Iran" and began a petition. Add your name by emailing

Watch a video Mohammadi made just before turning herself in to the authorities: 

[via Variety]