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Canadian-based filmmaker facing secret trial in Iran

[JURIST] A Canadian-based filmmaker accused of intending to spread propaganda will face a secret trial in Iran on November 17, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported Saturday. Mehrnoushe Solouki holds dual French and Iranian nationality and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) [university website]. She has been in Iran since December 2006 with the permission of Iranian authorities and was making a film about events following the 1988 ceasefire in the Iran-Iraq war. Authorities detained her in February, confiscating her notes and footage and charging her with intending to spread propaganda. She was released in March after her family paid 100 million toumen (80,000 euros) in bail but was barred from leaving the country. In a September Internet posting [text, in French] Solouki said she is not a "militant" but an independent and impartial filmmaker, describing her film project in detail. Reporters Without Borders [advocacy website] has been calling for her release [press release] and has asked the French foreign ministry to intervene. The Globe & Mail has more. Quebec University's Journal L'UQAM has local coverage [in French].

Solouki is just one of several people detained in what Amnesty International and other human rights groups have called [press release] an "attempt by Iran’s security authorities to sow fear into the wider community of journalists, writers, scholars and activists". Solouki's trial is bound to complicate already-strained relations between Canada and Iran [JURIST news archive]; Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi [CBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] died in 2003 under suspicious circumstances while being held by Iranian officials for photographing a demonstration outside a Tehran prison. She was allegedly tortured and raped [JURIST report].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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