Iranian producer and author is locked up in Evin PrisonMarch 29, 2015
A credible source wishing to remain anonymous, confirmed to HRANA that Azizi has been charged under the pretext of “insulting the Supreme Leader”, “affronting the founder of the Islamic revolution”, “propagandizing against the regime” and “conspiracy against public order”. Salavati is the presiding judge over these charges.
Prior to emigrating to Canada, Azizi produced educational and scientific programs for Iranian National Radio, until moving into television as the director of the Computer Animation Unit of the country’s national broadcaster, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. He moved to Canada in 2009, where he was a prominent cultural figure in Toronto’s Iranian community. He founded Alternate Dream Productions, and hosted a centre called Farhang Khaneh (House of Culture) which became a centre for cultural events, such as script writing workshops and film screenings.
According to his son, Azizi decided to return to Iran because of the moderate political climate and the current Rouhani Administration’s declarations that Iranians living abroad should return to live and work and safely in their native country. A Committee for the Return of Expat Iranians was created inside the Intelligence Ministry, led by the Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular, Parliamentary, and Iranian Expatriate Affairs Hassan Qashqavi. In a November 2013 statement, Qashqavi said:
The reason many Iranians do not return to Iran is the [fear] induced by Iranian opposition groups abroad. In my opinion, many of these fears are self-made. This fear has no root.
Arash Azizi said his father took these officials at their word:
Qashqavi said that Iranians abroad should come home, and that there would be no problems for 97 percent of them. My dad hasn’t been doing anything political, he’s an artist. His “crimes” are based on his Facebook posts, and the nature of his charges are based on the government’s social media monitoring of his posts. He went back to live his life as promised by the images of change and moderation. He had moved back, given up his home in Canada, and was there for good, and was very happy to see his sick father. To this day what he wants is to live in Iran. We want him to serve his time -not a long sentence we hope -and continue to live there in his own country.