Director Bahare Lelahi killed in prison in Iran

Film director Bahare Lelahi, who was arrested during the protests for Jina Mahsa Amini, was killed in prison and buried without her family's knowledge.

Film director Bahare Lelahi, who was arrested during the protests in Iran after the murder of Jina Mahsa Amini, was killed in prison and buried in Behes Sakine cemetery in Kerec province without her family's knowledge.

The director, who was detained for 10 days due to her activities during the rising street movement and protests against the regime in Iran after the murder of Jina Amini by the morality police in 2022, was imprisoned again in 2023 and was not heard from for months.

The family's appeals to various government agencies for information about their daughter's condition went unanswered.

The Iranian Cinema House Short Film Institute has demanded an urgent explanation from the Iranian government regarding the ‘suspicious’ death of Bahare Lelahi in prison.

Following the publication of the news about the ‘murder’ of Bahare Lelahi in the prisons of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the chairman of the board of directors of the Iranian Short Film Institute affiliated to the Iranian Cinema House demanded clarification of the incident. “While expressing our condolences to the members of the House of Iran Cinema and the Iranian Short Film Society, we demand a transparent investigation of the painful incident,” the Short Film Institute of Iran Cinema House said in a statement published on its website.

Bahare Lelahi, 40, has been a member of the jury of short film festival and youth cinema festival in her artistic career. In recent years, she was the instructor of Iran Youth Cinema Association and also Sure Cinema Academy. ‘When the curls dance in my dream’, ‘Narration of a dream’, ‘Echoes in the sound room’ are among the films directed by Bahare Lelahi.

Jina Mahsa Amini, a native of Seqiz (Saqqez), was visiting Tehran in September 2022 when she was arrested by the Iranian morality police for allegedly violating the Islamist mullahs' regime's dress code. A short time later, she died in police custody. According to her family, Amini was forcibly dragged into a police car and taken to a police station, where she collapsed as a result of further abuse and fell into a coma. On 16 September 2022, doctors at a Tehran clinic declared Amini dead.

Jina Mahsa Amini's death sparked the nationwide ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ revolution, with women at the forefront. The movement represented the greatest threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran since its existence. The young generation in particular took to the streets for months against the repressive policies of the Islamic leadership. The state apparatus violently suppressed the demonstrations. More than 550 people died and eight demonstrators were executed. In addition, more than 22,000 people were arrested.