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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

STOP THE BOMB presents "Iran Zendan" by Daryush Shokof

STOP THE BOMB is now presenting Iran Zendan, the latest film of the recently kidnapped exiled Iranian filmmaker Daryush Shokof on its website. Daryush Shokof and his films made headlines when Shokof was kidnapped in Cologne/Germany on May 24, 2010 and was kept imprisoned for 13 days. The kidnappers accused Shokof of insulting "Islam, the Islamic Republic and Khomeini" in his films. Before being released on June 6, Shokof was threatened with death if he showed these films anywhere in the world.

Daryush Shokof declared: „This abduction only made me stronger and more committed to fight the inhumane regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran. These two films are dedicated to the peace loving Iranians and their struggle for freedom.“

The premiere of Daryush Shokof's two latest films Iran Zendan ("Prison Iran“) and Hitler’s Grave took place in Berlin, Germany this year on May 9th. Iran Zendan shows torture, rape and execution in Iranian prisons. The film relentlessly reveals the brutal character of the thirty-one year old Iranian regime. Shokof's films contain both fictional and non-fictional sequences.  Iran Zendan also shows images of last year's revolt and its repression.

The initiative STOP THE BOMB supports Daryush Shokof with Iran Zendan's internet premiere. "To censor films with threats and force is not acceptable. Since Khomeini's fatwa against Salman Rushdie on February 14, 1989,  the Iranian regime has been threatening free speech and the arts worldwide with murder and threats of murder. One has to firmly counter the Islamists' intimidation attempts - in this case by showing and spreading Shokof's films“, Jonathan Weckerle said, speaking for STOP THE BOMB.

You can watch Iran Zendan in full length at de.stopthebomb.net/en/start/germany/shokof.html.

This film can be embedded into other websites. STOP THE BOMB calls on the international community to spread this film, which is an accusation against the Iranian regime which has turned into a living hell for anybody who opposes it. Spreading the film is an act of solidarity with the Iranian opposition.

Click in the film below to see the options for embedding and sharing Iran Zendan.

You will find more information about  Iran Zendan and on the kidnapping of Daryush Shokof on this page (de.stopthebomb.net/en/start/germany/shokof.html).

 

 

Movie Poster Iran Zendan

 

 

Daryush Shokof: Press statement (German) and interview (Persian) (17.6.2010)

 

Press statement by Daryush Shokof

 

Held on June 17, 2010 in the Arsenal Theatre 1, Berlin

 

Dear friends and respectable press representatives,

Thank you for being here today.

It is my assumption that my kidnapping has been arranged and well prepared months ago. In support of such speculation I address the fact that there have been some strange occurrences in the last few months in my life: There was a robbery at the apartment of a close film director friend of mine who left Iran for security reasons following his latest movie. We lived in the same building. Shortly after that incident my passport was stolen and even though I reported the loss and the suspect to the police in Kreuzberg it was never found. I was repeatedly warned by many that I should be seriously careful about my well being and my life while I was shooting the two films “Iran Zendan and “Hitler`s Grave”. “Iran Zendan” is a 70 minutes movie about the horrible situations of political prisoners in Iran during the Islamic Republic Regime.

The main concept of the film “Hitler`s Grave” evolves around serious issues dealing with anti-Semitism and taboos regarding both religions Islam and Judaism and how the main characters of the film bring about peace to the believers of both these religions.

The 9 minutes trailer of “Iran Zendan” was placed on YouTube and obtained an astonishing attention from the global view on the video-sharing website where over 35000 clicks were registered in less than 48 hours. YouTube instantly closed the open viewing of the film. Many other servers started showing the same trailer worldwide and with the same resounding effect including YouTube itself. It is up to this date a question why YouTube places restrictions on one account and leaves it open for a free usage under other registrations?

Let me please, show you the trailer.

We had a plan to show the film “Iran Zendan” in 3 cities in Sweden and 27 more cities around the world. We have just now decided to place the film “Iran Zendan” on the web for global view and almost free of charge.

I would like to emphasize the fact that the two films “Iran Zendan” and “Hitler`s Grave” were the reasons for my kidnapping.

Right before my kidnapping I drove to Cologne with my lead actress of the film “Hitler`s Grave”, Taies Farzan and her mother. On the day of the kidnapping, I was sitting on a bench at Friesenplatz in Cologne at around 7 or 8 p.m.

A man of Middle Eastern complexion talked Arabic on his cell phone in a few feet away from me. He then, came and sat next to me on the bench and continued speaking Arabic. Soon a black Audi drove by and stopped at the light where two men exited the car. The man next to me held a solid object to my ribs and asked me to comply with. The other young man was soon at the side, picked up my small suitcase and they led me towards the car. Soon I was inside the car with the first man entering the car next to me and the young man closed the door to the car and sat on my other side. Now in a very speedy action they blindfolded with a wrap and placed a tape over my mouth. Immediately after the car started driving off the man next to me yelled “Finished, drive!”

We stopped somewhere after 40 plus minutes of driving and they took me down the steps into a house and then inside an apartment. I remember these movements as I was not yet drugged up by my captors. The men started talking in panic with one another and I had a feeling they were arguing amongst themselves until the first man with the gun finally started talking to me.

They spoke both in Arabic and in German. He started off by saying that I had insulted Islam, Khomeini and the Islamic Republic of Iran with my movies and that I would be killed. I tried my best to convince the man to give me a chance so that I could prove to him that I was not anti-Islam, that I was born into an Islamic family under the name of Alireza and have the highest respect for such great men in the Islamic world as Sohraverdi, Mansour Hallaj, Attar, Hafiz, Khayaam and Molavi. The man was quiet for a while and listened to me all throughout my monologue. Finally, he told me that if I would not be killed it is only because I am the only person who could and should stop the films to be released. Thereafter they gave me Pizza to eat and then a terribly bittersweet water fluid that caused me fall into deep asleep every time I drank that substance. I remained in a delirium even after I came back to myself after the effect of the drug was reduced.

After a certain time my captors acted more aggressive both with one another and with me. It was as if there was a huge chaos around them. I even heard at a certain point that one of them mentioned I would be a “big shot” now and they could get a ransom for having me. The idea was rejected by the first man with the gun as he told them in German that they were not programmed for such a plan.

I was only aware of what has been going on on the internet about my missing after I was free. The world was alarmed about my situation through a committee established in Berlin under the name of “Protection for Daryush Shokof” who stood strong on the side to seek any news to solve the mystery behind my missing.

In many news outlets I read that there was no evidence of me having been kidnapped. Some had suggested that it was all about a personal matter or fabricated by myself. Much wrong information was there to read in all papers: For example, it was written almost in all papers that Taies Farzan was my wife. This is not true. Then, almost in all papers I could read that I was last seen at the Cologne train station which was completely wrong. I have not been at the Cologne train station where I was allegedly seen shortly before my disappearance. All this wrong information seemed to me as if someone wanted to downplay the whole situation right from the start.

I have to stress the fact that there was never any proof that I was not kidnapped. That is why I hope that the police continues to do all their investigations in the right directions. I suggest that Germany continues to strongly and seriously stand for the rights and the protection of all Iranian Opposition groups who are politically active as well as of the exile-Iranians who live in Germany.

Ladies and gentlemen, I strongly believe that my kidnappers wanted to either take me out of Germany or kill me and let my body disappear somewhere.

I strongly believe that they only let me go for two main reasons: One was for not releasing both films and more it was due to amazing efforts and support from a global attention to my missing from great names such as Ms. Shirin Ebadi the Iranian Nobel Prize winner, the efforts of the Protection Committee for Daryush Shokof, the Stop The Bomb coalition , the Iranian PEN Club in Exile, the National Council of Resistance, the Green Party of Iran, the Club of Free Iranian Filmmakers, Anjoman Ara Iran, Radio Farda, CNN, FOX News, Associated Press and all the other NGOs and Media that reported on my situation. I truly thank each and all of them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would never bow to the Mullah Regime in Iran. Not only I am not scared or tired from the effects of the horrible events I had to deal with but more than ever would I continue to fight against the barbaric Islamic Republic Regime in Iran until my last breath. I have dedicated both my films “Iran Zendan” and “Hitler`s Grave” to the cause of the Iranians and their struggle for freedom and peace. That is why I would place the film “Iran Zendan” on the webpage of the Committee for Protection for Daryush Shokof. Any and all incomes from the viewing of the film will go to help the families of all those who lost their loved ones in Iran prisons as political prisoners and those whose loved ones are still in those horrific prisons awaiting unclear destinies.

Thank you very much for your attention.


Press review

Die Welt - Iranischer Regisseur spurlos verschwunden (29.5.2010) (English translation)

"National Council of Resistance" - Dissident Iranian film maker Dariush Shokouf disappeared in Germany (30.5.2010)

Iran Press News - Persian article with statement by Shirin Ebadi (31.5.2010) (English translation)

FAZ - Verbot für Kiarostamis „Copie Conforme“ (1.6.2010)

Radio Lora - Oppositioneller Filmemacher Aus Iran: Im Zug Nach Paris Verschleppt?!? (German radio interview with Dr. Kazem Moussavi) (4.6.2010)

The L-Magazine - Another Dissenting Iranian Artist and Filmmaker, Daryush Shokof, Missing Since May 24 (4.6.2010)

Associated Press - Iranian artist and filmmaker has been missing for 11 days (4.6.2010)

ABC - Misteriosa desaparición de un cineasta iraní en un tren (5.6.2010)

Kölner Stadtanzeiger - Vermisster iranischer Filmregisseur Shokof nach zwölf Tagen in Köln aufgetaucht (6.6.2010)

Der Standard - Iranischer Filmemacher Shokof wieder aufgetaucht (7.6.2010)

Jungle World - "I'm kidnapped!" (10.6.2010)

Associated Press - Interview with Daryush Shokof (11.6.2010)

Frankfurter Neue Presse - «Ich werde mich dem Mullah-Regime nicht beugen. Ich mache weiter!» (17.6.2010)

Spiegel - Exil-Iraner Shokof veröffentlicht Film im Internet (17.6.2010)

Berliner Umschau - Der mysteriöse Fall des Daryush Shokof (17.6.2010)

Earth Times - Iranian filmmaker demands inquiry into alleged kidnapping(17.6.2010)

WELT - "Wenn du deinen Film zeigst, bist du tot" (18.6.2010)

Morgenpost - Iranischer Regisseur schildert Verschleppung (18.6.2010)

taz - Ein Verschwundener meldet sich (18.6.2010)

Radio Hamseda - Interview Daryush Shokof (27.6.2010) (Persian video)

 

STOP THE BOMB press release: Iranian attack feared on disappeared Daryush Shokof

STOP THE BOMB is deeply concerned about the whereabouts and well-being of the for 11 days missing exile-Iranian artist and filmmaker Daryush Shokof. STOP THE BOMB calls on the responsible official bodies in Germany to investigate the disappearance of Shokof, and to especially consider the possibility of a politically motivated act by Iranian or Islamic forces.

STOP THE BOMB demands that the German government issues a public statement on the case of Shokof, and that it ensures with all available political means and security forces the safety and the possibility of free political and artistic activites for everyone who fleed from the Iranian terror regime.

„The Iranian agencies control a network of agents and institutions loyal to the regime, who can still act undisturbed in Germany. For example, the Iranian ambassador to Germany Ali Reza Sheikh Attar belongs to the terrorist Iranian Revolutionary Guards“, says Jonathan Weckerle, speaker of STOP THE BOMB.

Thus, the Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi is absolutely right when she holds the German government responsible for Shokof’s security.[1]

On Monday, May 24, 2010 Shokof was seen for the last time at the main train station in Cologne, where he wanted to board a train to Paris. Apart from this it is only known that he didn’t keep any of his appointments in Paris.

Shokof is known as one of the harshest critics of the Islamic Republic among the Iranian artists in exile. In his latest two movies, „Iran-Zendan“ (Iran-Prison) and „Hitler’s Grave“, which had their premiere on May 9, 2010 in Berlin, Shokof sharply criticizes the regime’s  crimes and it’s ideology. „In Shokof’s movies many tabooed topics are adressed, tortuture and rape in the prisons are shown as well as a woman from a islamic family, who throws away her headscarf and marries a Jewish man. Shokofs work attacks the ideological foundations of the Islamic Republic and thus is a threat to the rulers in Iran. Especially because of the upcoming anniversary of the election fraud it is possible that the regime tries to intimidate the opposition in Iran and exile with an action against one of the regime’s critics“, says Weckerle.

At least 162 assassinations of oppositional Iranians in exile have been ordered by the rulers in Tehran since 1979.[2] Since the start of the massive protest movement last year the exile Iranian opposition has been threatened increasingly and persecuted, especially in Germany.[3]

Massoud Jazayeri, deputy commander of Iranian armed forces threatened in November 2009 that many protesters inside and outside Iran had been identified and will be dealt with at the right time. As targets he lists “enlightened secularists, journalists, student activists and artists outside the country”.[4]

STOP THE BOMB, June 6, 2010

More information about Daryush Shokof as well as any news can be found on this special page: de.stopthebomb.net/en/start/germany/shokof.html

[1] de.stopthebomb.net/en/start/germany/shokof.html

[2] www.iranhrdc.org/httpdocs/English/pdfs/Reports/No-Safe-Haven_May08.pdf

[3] Das Regime verfolgt seine Kritiker, WDR Panorama, 15.10.2009, daserste.ndr.de/panorama/media/panorama358.html

[4] englishtogerman.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/drohungen-gegen-unterstutzer-der-grunen-bewegung-auserhalb-irans/

 

Shirin Ebadi holds German government responsible for Shokof's security

Translated article from Iran Press News: (English translation will follow)

Shirin Ebadi, Juristin und Nobelpreisträgerin, sagt, dass sie „das Verschwinden Shokofs“ an die politischen Serienmorde an den Gegnern der Islamischen Republik der 90-er Jahre erinnert. An eine Zeit, in der Oppositionelle wie Mokhtari und Pujandeh verschwanden.

Ein bekannter Filmemacher steigt in einen Zug, verschwindet spurlos und kann nicht wieder aufgefunden werden. Dafür zeichnet die deutsche Bundesregierung Verantwortung.

Sie sei schon in der Lage, diesen Filmemacher, einen Oppositionellen der Islamischen Republik Iran, zu finden, vorausgesetzt, dass sie es wolle.

Ich gebe hiermit bekannt, dass die Verantwortung für das Verschwinden eines iranischen Künstlers bei der deutschen Bundesregierung liegt.

Die Nobelpreisträgerin betont, dass sie nicht die Absicht habe, irgendwelche politischen oder juristischen Personen zu beschuldigen. Dennoch könne die deutsche Bundesregierung mit entsprechenden Maßnahmen ungesetzliche Aktivitäten stoppen.

Shirin Ebadi sagt: „Wir haben des Öfteren darauf gepocht, dass die europäischen Staaten, statt den jungen Menschen und Studenten das Einreisevisum zu verweigern, die Einreise der Delegationen einschränken, die scharenweise Europa bereisen!“

Shirin Ebadi hofft, dass die deutsche Bundesregierung die entsprechenden Maßnahmen ergreifen wird, und zwar bevor alles zu spät ist.

Sie sagt: „Bei Bakhtiars Ermordung waren wir Zeuge der Leichtfertigkeit der französischen Polizei. Der Mörder konnte erst durch die Schweizer Polizei gefasst werden. Wir waren Zeuge, wie die europäischen Staaten nach dem Mykonosattentat aus Protest ihre Botschafter abberufen hatten. So möchte ich, ohne eine Person, eine Instanz oder einen Staat anzuprangern, sagen, dass solche Reaktionen geeignet sind, solche illegalen Taten zu unterbinden“.

 

Speech by Dr. Kazem Moussavi at the premiere of the movie “Iran Zendan”

Kino Babylon Mitte, Berlin, 9.5.2010


Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,

I am very pleased to welcome you tonight to the world premiere of the film “Iran Zendan” by the famous Iranian director Mr. Daryush Shokof.
I would also like to give you kind regards in the name of Daryush Shokof, the producer Ms. Eliv Sevim Akdogan, the co-producer Ms. Mahnaz Talebtari as well as Ms. Taies Farzan and all actors, actresses and the whole cast. Furthermore I would like to express our gratitude to the responsible people of the Babylon cinema for offering us the opportunity to sample the premiere of “Hitler`grave” by Daryush Shokof.
Ladies and gentlemen,
“Iran Zendan” is a pioneer work of Mr. Shokof in the international cinema. This film is originated in a special historical situation in which Iran and it`s people are under religious dictatorship. Daryush dedicated the film to the Iranian people who want freedom and are against the Islamist regime.
The actors in the film have often themselves been former political prisoners who show their own experience with the brutal violation of human rights by the mullah regime in Iranian prisons.
This protest film turns out against the dominance of the 31 year old Islamist regime which commits crimes against humanity since more than three decades. The crude violence and arbitrariness which is used in the fight against peaceful protests on the streets, the politically motivated “show trials” of the arrested people and the executions of dissidents since the fake elections in June last year correspond with the inhuman character of the regime and its practice since 1979. The latest report of Amnesty International shows that the mullah regime is - related to area and population - a worldwide record holder of executions of dissidents as well as of children and teenagers below 18 years. This morning five prisoners have been executed by the killers of the Islamic republic in Iran. This is really terrifying!

Ladies and gentlemen,
The Islamic republic of Iran is the most atrocious prison for women and homosexual people. According to known information there are more than 180 ways of torture in the mullah prisons, among them whipping, stoning and extremity amputation. According to state information there are more than seven million detentions up to now, among them a lot of homosexual men and women, bi- and transsexual people as well as women who did not accept forced veiling.
According to official statements the arrested dissidents and protestors, men and women, are raped in the torture cellars of the regime by the revolutionary guards and Basiji units. The dead bodies of the victims are often not handed over to the families but burnt with acid and hastily buried. It is also known that religious minorities like Christians, Baha’i and Jews as well as ethnical minorities like the Kurds are persecuted and murdered. The dramatic situation of the workers became recently clear again when the regime fought back brutally the protests on May 1st.
Up to now the regime has carried out 450 terrorist actions abroad. With an aching heart I remind here for example Mr. Dr. Schapour Bakhtiar in Paris, the cabaret artist Mr. Feridoun Faroukhzad in Bonn, Dr. Scharafkandi and his political friends in the Berlin restaurant “Mykonos” as well as Abdolrahman Ghasemlou in Vienna, Alireza Broumand in Paris, Dr. Kazem Radjawi in Geneva and Mohammad Reza Naghdi in Rome, who were murdered by killer commands of the Iranian secret services and the Lebanese Hezbollah.
Finally, the backers of the so called dialogue and cultural exchange policy with the mullahs must understand: The regime tries to force back and annihilate all non-Islamic elements of the human Persian culture and civilization as well as other existing languages, traditions and religions. During the dirty appeasement policy of Germany and Europe the regime has arrested hundreds of dissenting artists, theater and film directors, poets, actors, writers cultural activists, etc., made them disappear or forced them into exile. Here, among us are a lot of filmmakers and cultural activists who have fled Iran due to the censorship policy and the suppression of the Islamic republic. Daryush is one of them.
Moreover, under the rule of the clergy the Iranian society is massively confronted with a rising exploitation of the country`s resources, a serious environmental pollution and destruction, an extreme poverty, unemployment, drug addiction, prostitution – while, besides, predominantly the young people are affected –, an ailing militarized and nuclear economy in the hands of the revolutionary guards, corruption and many things more. These are also results of the longstanding excellent economic ties of Germany and Europe with the Islamic regime in Iran!

Ladies and gentlemen,
I do not know with which kind of feeling you now await the film “Iran Zendan”. By this film one can learn to how important it is to advocate for humanity, freedom, happiness and the enduring development of the Iranian people who are in a struggle of existence against the atomic mullahs. I say this to the address of politics, economy and media in Germany and also in other western countries: The religious mullah regime is not reformable and it, meanwhile, threatens the whole world. Position yourselves in your own interest on the side of the Iranian people, the democratic secular protest groups and the cultural activists like Mr. Daryush Shokof, who espouse a free Iran.
Dear Daryush Shokof, my last word also to you: Thank you for your valuable efforts! You are truly an asset for art, film and culture in Iran!

Thank you very much for your attention.
Dr. Kazem Moussavi


Associated Press about Daryush Shokof

June 4, 2010

BERLIN (AP) An exiled Iranian artist and filmmaker has been missing for 11 days and German authorities are trying to determine his whereabouts, police said Friday.

Daryush Shokof, a 55-year-old Berlin resident, was last seen on May 24 in Cologne, where he planned to board a train to Paris.

"As of now we have no information about his whereabouts and we don't have any evidence that a crime took place," Berlin police spokesman Guido Busch said. "However, we're investigating in all directions and are in contact with various exile groups from Iran that are based in Germany."

Kazem Moussavi, a friend of Shokof's and self-described regime critic, told The Associated Press that Shokof was "a harsh critic of the Iranian government and constantly received threatening phone calls."

Last month, two new Shokof films critical of the Iranian government were shown in Berlin.

In those two movies, "Iran Zendan" and "Hitler's Grave," Shokof sharply criticizes the regime's ideology and shows scenes of torture and rape at an Iranian prison.

Moussavi said that he had not been able to reach Shokof by e-mail or on his cell phone since he disappeared.

"We fear that the Iranian regime is responsible for his disappearance," Moussavi said.

Javad Asadian, another friend and writer from Berlin, also said Shokof had received threatening phone calls.

"He especially received these threatening phone calls after parts of his film 'Iran Zendan' were published on YouTube," Asadian told the AP.

Asadian said he also had been trying to reach Shokof on his cell phone for the past 11 days and left many messages asking him to call back, but neither he nor other friends had heard anything from Shokof.

"He was planning to visit Paris for about a week, but he never showed up at his friends' place there," he added. "I talked to them, they also haven't heard a word from him."

The Berlin-based group Stop The Bomb, which is critical of the current Iranian government, also said in a statement that it is "concerned for the health and life of Shokof."

Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi told the Persian Service of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle that the fact "that a famous filmmaker gets on the train and then it's not known what happened to him is the responsibility of the German government," according to Iran Press News, an Iranian opposition Web site.

"I hold the German state responsible for the disappearance of the Iranian artist," Ebadi was quoted as saying.

The Nobel laureate could not immediately be reached by phone.

Scheherezade Faramarzi contributed reporting from Beirut, Lebanon.

 

Video with Daryush Shokof (Feb. 2010)