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Daughter Says Iranian Filmmaker Did Not Commit Suicide As Claimed

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Veteran Iranian filmmaker Kyumars Pour-Ahmad did not commit suicide as the Iranian government has claimed, her daughter has said in an interview this weekend.

Initially, it had been reported in April last year that Pour-Ahmad died from heart failure, but soon after, officials announced the 74-year-old had taken his own life.

Mehdi Fallahmiri, the prosecutor in Gilan Province, who at first dispatched a murder investigation team to inquire about Pour-Ahmad’s death, ruled the death was suicide. However, he later said “further investigation” is needed. But there hasn’t been an update since last year.

Turan Pour-Ahmad, the director’s sister, wrote in an Instagram post on the first anniversary of his death in early April, “First they tortured my brother, then they hanged his dead body.”

Later on, Pegah Pour-Ahmad, the daughter of the director and screenwriter, said in an interview with Etemad newspaper on Saturday: “What my aunt said is true. But we won’t discuss the case details until the right time comes. My father knew what they were going to do to him. To say that he killed himself is not true.”

Last year, Mehdi Kouhian, a lawyer involved in the legal cases of artists detained during the nationwide protests which began in 2022, warned that the unrest and subsequent crackdowns on the cultural community would have a terrible impact on Pour-Ahmad’s fate.

Just days before his death, Pour-Ahmad publicly appealed to the community of artists, asking that they help those who were being persecuted by the government by providing secure therapy services.

Pour-Ahmad’s death had already been labeled as “government murder.” Journalist Noushabeh Amiri, who is now in Europe, tweeted: “Pour-Ahmad was killed by the filthy Islamic Republic, yes, killed.”

In the protests following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, more than 550 protesters were killed by security forces. Artists who publicly supported the protesters were arrested and given the likes of travel bansproperty confiscations and pay and bank account freezes.