March 30, 2015 / 9:54 PM / 4 years ago

Canada-based Iranian filmmaker 'in good shape' in Evin prison

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A Canada-based Iranian writer and television producer was put into Tehran’s notorious Evin prison soon after his return to his home country, but is in good shape, the filmmaker’s son said on Monday.

Iranian authorities arrested Mostafa Azizi, who has permanent resident status in Canada, on Feb. 1, and charged him with insulting Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and spreading propaganda against the Islamic establishment.

“I don’t want to speculate as to what evidence is being used against my dad but I am confident he meant no wrongdoing and law-breaking,” said his son Arash Azizi, contacted by Reuters.

Arash, a Canadian journalist who lives in London, said his father was put into solitary confinement for the first 14 days but has been able to phone him and his sister and other people regularly from prison.

“It is accurate that he is in a good physical and psychological shape,” said the son.

Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi died in 2003 of a brain hemorrhage after receiving a blow to the head at Evin. She had been taking pictures outside the prison.

Canadian foreign affairs spokesman Francois Lasalle said the government was “aware of reports” of the arrest of a Canadian permanent resident but was unable to provide further information.

He noted that the Canadian embassy in Iran has closed until further notice.

“In the context of heightened regional tensions, Iranian-Canadian dual citizens and Canadian permanent residents with Iranian citizenship may be particularly vulnerable to investigation and harassment by Iranian authorities,” he said.

Mostafa Azizi has a court date in Iran on June 1.

Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Christian Plumb

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