Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti arrested after criticizing execution of protester | CNN



One of Iran’s best-known actresses has been arrested days after she criticized the execution of a man who was involved in the nationwide protests that have swept the country since September.

Taraneh Alidoosti, who starred in the 2016 Oscar-winning film, “The Salesman,” had condemned the hanging of Mohsen Shekari, who was killed this month in the first known execution linked to the protests. Shekari was reportedly convicted of “waging war against God” for stabbing a member of the Basij paramilitary force at a protest in Tehran on September 23.

State media outlet Fars News Agency, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, said Alidoosti had been arrested because there was a “lack of evidence for her claims.”

Known as a feminist activist, Alidoosti last month published a picture of herself on Instagram without the Islamic hijab and holding a sign reading “Women, Life, Freedom” to show support for the protest movement.

After Shekari’s execution, she said in another post: “Your silence means supporting tyranny and tyrants,” adding that “every international organization who is watching this bloodshed and not taking action, is a disgrace to humanity.”

Her Instagram account has since been deleted.

Days after Shekari was hanged, a second execution took place on December 12. Majidreza Rahnavard was hanged in the northeastern city of Mashhad after he was accused of killing two paramilitary officers.

“Some celebrities make claims without evidence and publish provocations and have been thus arrested,” Far News Agency said in its report on Alidoosti.

Local rights group, Committee to Counter Violence Against Women in Iranian Cinema, said on Twitter that it wasn’t clear which government department had taken Alidoosti into custody.

Alidoosti, who has appeared in various popular Iranian TV shows, is known for her activism in the MeToo movement in Iran’s cinema industry.

Last month, she denied reports that she had left Iran, writing that she planned to stay in the country and stop working.

“I will stand by the families of prisoners and the killed and will demand justice for them. I will fight for my home and I will pay any cost to stand for my rights,” she wrote.

Several Iranians have been sentenced to death by execution during the nationwide protests, which were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was apprehended by the state’s morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly.

Her death touched a nerve in the Islamic Republic, with prominent public figures coming out in support of the movement. The protests have since coalesced around a range of grievances with the authoritarian regime.

According to Amnesty International, as of November, Iranian authorities were seeking the death penalty for at least 21 people in connection with the protests.

At least 458 people have been killed in the unrest since September, according to Norway-based Iran Human Rights on Wednesday.

CNN cannot independently verify the number of people facing executions in Iran, or the latest arrest figures or death tolls related to the protests, as precise figures are impossible for anyone outside the Iranian government to confirm.


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