Historians celebrate release of Iranian filmmaker who had uncovered mass grave of regime opponents

Historians in the News

Dear Colleagues,

The Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR), London, and several press agencies reported that Mehrnoushe Solouki was released. A 38-year-old graduate student, she was arrested in February 2007 and prevented from leaving Iran for nearly a year after discovering a mass grave of regime opponents summarily executed during the 1988 Iraq-Iran war. Please see the summary below. Many thanks to all of you who campaigned on ms. Solouki’s behalf.

With best wishes,

Antoon De Baets
(Network of Concerned Historians)



In December 2006, Mehrnoushe Solouki ([1970-]), a French-Iranian citizen residing in Canada, and a filmmaker and journalism graduate student at Quebec University, Montréal, Canada, entered Iran in order to film her third documentary, on the subject of the burial rites of religious minorities. The Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance granted her a research license and officials were told in advance of locations where she would film. In February 2007, Solouki stumbled upon a site that was reportedly a mass grave of regime opponents summarily executed in the summer and fall of 1988. Following this incident, she was arrested and imprisoned. She was reportedly held in inhumane conditions and subjected to daily interrogations. On 28 March 2007, she was released when her parents posted bail, but authorities confiscated her French passport. In breach of Iranian law limiting travel bans to six months, she was not allowed to return to France. On 17 November 2007, Solouki was tried in closed-door proceedings on charges of “intent to commit propaganda” against the Iranian regime. She had neither edited nor broadcast any film taken during her stay. The trial was adjourned to an unspecified future date. On 18 January 2008, she was allowed to leave Iran for France.


Associated Press, “Iran Allows Filmmaker to Leave Country” (WWW-text; 22 January 2008).

Index on Censorship, 3/07: 118.

Scholars at Risk, “SAR calls for letters on behalf of detained graduate student Mehrnoushe Solouki” (4 December 2007).

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