CAIRO (AFP) – Iranian authorities arrested one of the country’s most famous actresses on Saturday on charges of spreading lies about the nationwide protests that are dominating the country, state media said.
According to the IRNA report, Taraneh Alidoosti, the star of the Oscar-winning movie “The Salesman,” was arrested a week after she posted a post on Instagram expressing solidarity with the first man who was recently executed for crimes allegedly committed during the protests.
The announcement is the latest in a series of celebrity arrests, which have included players, actors and influencers, in response to their public display of support for anti-government demonstrations now in their third month.
According to the report posted on the state media’s official Telegram channel, Alidoosti was arrested because she did not provide “any documents consistent with her allegations”.
It said that many other Iranian celebrities had been “summoned by the judiciary on charges of publishing provocative content” and that some had been arrested. He gave no further details.
The 38-year-old actress said in a post: His name is Mohsen Shakari. Every international organization that watches this bloodshed and takes no action is a disgrace to humanity.”
Shekari was executed on December 9 after an Iranian court charged him with cutting down a street in Tehran and attacking a member of the country’s security forces with a machete.
In November, authorities arrested Hengameh Ghaziani and Katyon Riahi, two popular Iranian actresses, for expressing solidarity with protesters on social media. Furia Ghafouri, an Iranian soccer player, was also arrested last month on charges of “insulting the national soccer team and propaganda against the government”. All three were released.
Since September, Alidoosti has publicly expressed his solidarity with the protesters in at least three Instagram posts. Her account, which had about 8 million followers, was suspended.
Last week, Iran executed a second prisoner, Majid Reza Rahnavard, over the protests. Rahnord’s body was left hanging from a construction crane as a dire warning to others. Iranian authorities alleged that Rahnavard stabbed two members of their paramilitary force.
Both Shekari and Rahnavard were executed less than a month after they were charged, underscoring the speed with which Iran is now carrying out imposed death sentences for alleged offenses related to the demonstrations. Activists say at least 10 people have been sentenced to death in closed hearings. Iran is one of the most executed countries in the world.
Iran has seen protests since the killing of 22-year-old Mohsa Amini on September 16 after she was detained by the morality police. Since then, the protests have turned into one of the most serious challenges to the Iranian theocracy installed by the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Alidoosti had earlier criticized the Iranian government and its police forces before this year’s protests.
In June 2020, she was given a five-month suspended prison sentence after she criticized police on Twitter in 2018 for assaulting a woman who had removed her headscarf.
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 their inception. The authorities detained more than 18,200 people.
Other popular movies Alidoosti has starred in include “The Beautiful City” and “About Elly”.