Why Can’t She See Her Lawyer and Family? Asks Imprisoned Film Producer’s Sister
Katayoun Shahabi, a film distributor and producer who was arrested 20 days ago on the charge of cooperating with the BBC Persian Service along with four other documentary filmmakers, still does not have permission to see her lawyer or her family. In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Kamnoush Shahabi, Katayoun Shahabi’s sister, stated “we neither know exactly whom we’re dealing with, nor do we know about their conditions … My sister has been in detention for the past 20 days, but no one has been able to see her yet, not even her lawyer. She has only been allowed to call home three times, each time emphasizing that she is only allowed to talk to our mother. Also, my sister has said that she is alone, which means that she is spending time in solitary confinement,” added Kamnoush Shahabi.
Kamnoush Shahabi, a resident of Canada, also spoke about her sister’s recent remarks regarding her treatment in prison. “In her last phone call, my sister said that the authorities have been treating her well, but we are worried. Unless we see her, we won’t be certain whether she is forced to say those things or their treatment of her has really been good,” she told the Campaign.
“The prison authorities have told her husband that my sister and the rest of the documentary filmmakers were arrested following a complaint by a few plaintiffs, one of which is the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting,” said Kamnoush Shahabi, adding that their family has been trying to secure her sister’s release.
“Apparently, she was arrested for selling one or two films to BBC. My sister, who is an international film distributor, had permission from the film producers to sell the two Iranian films, which were produced many years ago by others and had won awards in different film festivals … my sister’s job is selling films,” said Kamnoush Shahabi.
“Assuming these people are guilty, why don’t they have the right to see their lawyers? Why can’t their families see them? If this happened anywhere else in the world, not only would they have rights, but they would also remain free and would appear in court for a review of the charges levied against them, and their lawyers would follow up their court cases. But unfortunately all the doors are closed to them. I don’t really know with whom we are dealing,” said Kamnoush Shahabi.
20 days ago, on 18 September, Katayoun Shahabi was arrested along with Naser Saffarian, Mojtaba Mir Tahmaseb, Hadi Afarideh, and Mohsen Shahrnazdar. Two days after their arrests, the Ministry of Intelligence’s public relations office published a statement levying heavy charges against them, including “fulfilling the needs of the intelligence service of England,” “providing propaganda for psychological war for Iran’s enemies,” and “money laundering.” According to this statement, the filmmakers were performing their unpatriotic missions that were assigned to them. One day before publication of this statement, Sadeq Saba, head of BBC Persian Television, denied any collaboration between these people and the BBC network.