Speilberg, Scorsese demand release of Iranian director

Last Updated: May 03, 2010, 11:36 AM IST

London: A petition signed by Hollywood directors Steven Speilberg and Martin Scorsese has denounced the arrest of Iranian director Jafar Panahi and called on Tehran for his release.

"We... stand in solidarity with a fellow film-maker," the petition read. Other prominent signatories of the petition include Robert de Niro, Robert Redford and Francis Ford Coppola, BBC reported.

The group of film-makers and actors "strongly urge the Iranian government to release Mr Panahi immediately".

Spielberg is among the big names to have signed the petition which came after Tehran prosecutor`s office confirmed the arrest to reporters but denied it was connected to politics.

Panahi, a past winner of the Venice Film Festival`s Golden Lion award, was arrested on March 1.

The filmmaker who is known for his brand of social realism and his most recent film is `Offside`, which won the 2006 Berlin Film Festival`s Silver Bear award.

PTI

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