April 20, 2017 / 5:52 PM / 3 months ago

Iranian film-maker released from Evin prison - human rights group

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi has been released after nearly five months in Evin prison in Tehran on charges of "propaganda against the state" and "insulting sacred values", the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), a news site run by a collective of Iranian human rights advocates, said on Thursday.

Karimi, 31, was released on Wednesday, HRANA said.

The charges stem from a documentary about political graffiti in Tehran made by Karimi called "Writing on the City". In 2015, Karimi was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison and 223 lashes but an appeals court subsequently reduced the sentence to one year in prison.

Since late December, at least 22 journalists and activists have been arrested, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based research and advocacy organization. Many are being kept in solitary confinement without access to their family or lawyers.

About a dozen of those arrested have been administrators of pro-reformist channels on Telegram, a social media platform used by millions of Iranians. They were rounded up in mid-March, though some were subsequently released.

The arrests have posed a challenge for Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, who promised to increase freedom for ordinary Iranians while in office and has registered to run in presidential elections on May 19.

The Iranian judiciary did not issue a statement about Karimi on Thursday but HRANA said that he had been let out of Evin on a "conditional release".

Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; editing by Ralph Boulton

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