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Thursday, 12 December, 2002, 22:00 GMT
Iran bans film about women's prisons
Iranian women in Tehran
Some sectors of Iran are still deeply conservative
Officials in Iran have ordered cinemas in some areas to stop showing a film portraying life in a women's jail after the Islamic revolution of 1979, the state news agency IRNA reports.

The order - affecting cinemas in the cities of Qom, Isfahan, Shiraz and Karaj - is said to follow protests from clerics and hardline religious groups.

The Women's Prison, by the female director Manijeh Hekmat, portrays the harsh conditions inside women's jails over the past 20 years.

It includes the execution of a 17-year-old female political prisoner and the suicide of a young runaway girl - a taboo topic in the Islamic republic.

Breaking taboos

The film's subject matter has already ignited fierce debate in Iran.

It was finally approved for screening after two years of deliberations by Iranian censors, and when 20 minutes of the movie had been cut out.

In the city of Qom, a cinema owner was quoted by IRNA on Thursday as saying he had received arson threats.

In late September, a cinema showing the film in the city of Isfahan was burned down in a suspected arson attack, the French news agency AFP reports.

See also:

04 May 01 | Entertainment
17 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
02 Dec 02 | Middle East
06 Nov 02 | Country profiles
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