Iran authorities arrest actress of Oscar-winning film

Taraneh Alidoosti held on charges of spreading 'falsehoods' about protests in the country, reports say

Taraneh Alidoosti was arrested because she did not provide ’any documents in line with her claims', Iranian media reports. AP
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Iranian authorities have arrested one of the country’s most famous actresses on charges of spreading falsehoods about nationwide protests that are rocking the country, state media reported on Saturday.

Taraneh Alidoosti, star of the Oscar-winning film The Salesman, was detained a week after she made a post on Instagram expressing solidarity with the first man recently executed for crimes allegedly committed during the nationwide protests, the IRNA news agency said.

Alidoosti was arrested because she did not provide ’’any documents in line with her claims″, according to the report published on the state media’s official Telegram channel.

In her post, the actress said: “His name was Mohsen Shekari. Every international organisation that is watching this bloodshed and not taking action, is a disgrace to humanity.”

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

Last week, Iran executed a second prisoner, Majidreza Rahnavard, in connection with the protests. Mr Rahnavard’s body was left hanging from a construction crane as a gruesome warning to others.

Taraneh Alidoosti had earlier posted a picture on Instagram that shows her holding a sign that reads: "Woman. Life. Freedom".

Iranian accused Mr Rahnavard of stabbing two members of a paramilitary force.

Alidoosti has made at least three posts on her Instagram account expressing solidarity with protesters since the demonstrations broke out in September. Her account was suspended Sunday.

Iran has been hit by protests since the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, in custody of the morality police. The protests have since morphed into one of the most serious challenges to Iran’s theocracy installed by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Alidoosti has previously criticised the Iranian government and its police force. In June 2020, she was given a suspended five-month prison sentence after she criticised the police on Twitter in 2018 for assaulting a woman who had removed her headscarf.

Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi, two other famous actresses in Iran, were arrested by authorities for expressing solidarity with protesters on social media. Both have been released.

At least 495 people have been killed in the demonstrations amid a harsh security crackdown, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has been monitoring the protests since they began.

Over 18,200 people have been detained by authorities.

Updated: December 17, 2022, 6:51 PM