Iranian actress sentenced for raising women's rights

Taraneh Alidoosti was given a five months sentence for showing solidarity with women's rights protests

Taraneh Alidoosti in Darbareye Elly (2009)
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A popular Iranian actress was sentenced to five months in jail on Thursday on charges of “insulting law enforcement” and engaging in “propaganda activities against the state” after posting a feminist statement on Instagram.

Taraneh Alidoosti, who starred in the Oscar-winning film The Salesman, was given the sentence after expressing solidarity with protests against women being forced to wear a veil in Iran.

“Following a legal complaint from the Deputy for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of NAJA, Taraneh Alidoosti was sentenced to five months in prison,” Giso Faghfouri, a veteran arts and culture journalist, said on Twitter.

Alidoosti re-posted a video of Iran’s morality police attacking a woman for not wearing a hijab in Iran.

Known as the "Natalie Portman of Iran", Alidoosti caused a stir in 2016 for revealing a feminist tattoo at a press conference for The Salesman.

The actress was initially summoned to the prosecutor’s office in January on charges of propaganda against the state, before the case was referred to the criminal court.

She also criticised authorities in Tehran in a post on Instagram, telling her 6.2 million followers that “we are not citizens” but “captives”.

Alidoosti then said that she had replaced her profile picture with the colour black in mourning for demonstrators that were shot dead by security forces in the protests which shook Iran in November last year.

The Iranian star is not expected to be imprisoned as her sentence has been deferred for two years.

Alidoosti also spoke out against US President Donald Trump’s decision to impose a visa ban on Iranians.

She labelled the ban racist and boycotted the 2017 Academy Awards ceremony after The Salesman was nominated in the best foreign-language film category.

Many Iranians have taken to social media to raise awareness about the government’s human rights violations, Senior Editor at Iran International, Fariba Sahraei said.

“The arrest and subsequent sentencing of Taranah Alidoosti demonstrates how the regime is trying to stop Iranian citizens from using social media to expose human rights abuses in the country,” Sahraei said.