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Iranian filmmaker dies from COVID-19 despite prison furlough


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An award-winning Iranian filmmaker and poet who had been jailed on state security charges but was released on furlough after contracting COVID-19 has died. Semiofficial ISNA news agency said Baktash Abtin, 47, who was released nearly a month ago, died in a Tehran hospital. Last year he won a literary award by PEN America, a free speech advocacy group. PEN America says he was “neglected” in prison, and that his death had been preventable. Abtin had been serving a six-year prison sentence, which Tehran’s prison department says had been for “propaganda against national security.” Iranian media described his infractions as “activity against the Islamic Republic.”

Article Topic Follows: AP National

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