Iranian actor detained for supporting anti-government protests released from jail

Iran frees a famous actor from prison almost three weeks after she was detained for criticizing a crackdown on anti-government protests, local reports said.

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency said Taraneh Alidoosti, the 38-year-old star of Asghar Farhadi’s 2016 Oscar-winning film, Sales agent, has been released on bail. Her mother, Nadere Hakimelahi, had previously said she would be released in an Instagram post.

After being released from Evin prison in Tehran on Wednesday, Alidoosti posed with bouquets of flowers, surrounded by friends. No further details have been released about her case.

Alidoosti is among a number of Iranian celebrities expressing support for the nationwide protests and criticizing the government’s violent repression of dissidents. She posted at least three messages of support for the protests on Instagram before her account was disabled.

A message expressed solidarity with the first man to be executed for his involvement in the protests, which were triggered by the death of a woman in police custody and escalated into widespread calls to overthrow Iran’s ruling clerics.

The protests marked one of the biggest challenges facing the Islamic Republic since it was founded after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Security forces used live ammunition, bird fire and tear gas. and batons to disperse protesters, according to human rights groups.

A woman in a pink suit poses and smiles as photographers take pictures of her.
Alidoosti, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in southern France on May 26, has been freed almost three weeks after she was jailed for criticizing a crackdown on anti-government protests, the newspaper reported. local report said. (Daniel Cole/Press Association)

Mohsen Shekari was executed on December 9 after being accused by an Iranian court of blocking a road in Tehran and attacking a member of the country’s security forces with a machete.

A week later, Iran executed its second prisoner, Majidreza Rahnavard, by public hanging. He is accused of stabbing to death two members of the Basij paramilitary militia, which is leading the crackdown.

Activists say at least a dozen people have been sentenced to death during closed-door hearings on allegations related to the protests.

“His name is Mohsen Shekari,” Alidoosti wrote on his account, which had about 8 million followers before his arrest. “Every international organization that is witnessing this bloodshed without taking action is an affront to humanity.”

At least 516 protesters killed, activists say

Iran’s reports on Alidoosti’s release do not indicate whether she has been charged with anything or whether she will be tried. It is also unclear if she will face travel restrictions as part of the terms of her release.

At least 516 protesters have been killed and more than 19,000 arrested, according to human rights activists in Iran, a group that closely monitors the unrest. Iranian authorities have not provided official figures on those killed or detained.

Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi, two other famous Iranian actors, were arrested in November for expressing solidarity with protesters on social media. Voria Ghafouri, an Iranian soccer star, was also arrested that month for “insulting the national football team and making propaganda against the government.” All three have been released.

The protests began in mid-September, when Mahsa Amini, 22, died after being arrested by Iran’s ethics police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. Women have played a leading role in the protests, with many openly removing the mandatory Islamic headscarf, known as the hijab.

Protesters say they are fed up after decades of political and social repression. One of the main slogans is “Kill the dictator”, a reference to Iran’s 83-year-old supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has held the country’s highest office for more than three decades.

Iranian officials blame the protests on the United States and other foreign powers. State-linked media have highlighted attacks on security forces, while authorities have imposed heavy restrictions on coverage of the protests, including coverage of the protests. periodically cut off internet access.

Khamenei, who has said little about the protests, spoke about Muslim dress on Wednesday during a meeting with women, saying the hijab was necessary but those who did not “fully adhere” to it. practices “should not be accused of being irreligious or anti-revolutionary.”

Even before the protests, many Iranian women wore the hijab loosely, and the authorities sometimes relaxed its enforcement, especially during the presidency of Hassan Rouhani, a relatively moderate ruling peacemaker from 2013 to 2021. His successor, hard-line Ebrahim Raisi, has moved to tighten restrictions.

Alidoosti has previously criticized the Iranian government and its police force ahead of this year’s protests.

In June 2020, she was given a 5-month suspended prison sentence after she criticized police on Twitter in 2018 for assaulting a woman who had removed her hijab.

In Sales agent, she plays a woman whose relationship is fractured with her husband after she is sexually assaulted in their apartment. The story unfolds against the backdrop of a local staging of Arthur Miller’s classic play, Salesman’s Deathin which the woman and her husband are cast as the main characters.

Other popular movies that Alidoosti has acted in include beautiful city and About Elly.


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