A group of 85 Iranian filmmakers have written an open letter to government officials, urging them to release jailed director Jafar Panahi, who is on hunger strike behind bars.
Panahi began his protest earlier this week (begs17May10) in a bid to win access to a lawyer, visitation from his family and his release prior to a court hearing.
The letter from his supporters reads: "In view of the existing conditions for... Jafar Panahi, we, the under signers of this letter, a group of independent filmmakers, call for the freedom and speedy consideration of his conditions and his demands in prison."
Panahi was imprisoned following a police raid on his home in March (10). He was a vocal supporter of country's opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi.
A number of Hollywood stars, including Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, have also signed a petition to free the moviemaker.