Monday , December 5 2022

Two prominent Iranian actresses arrested

22-11-2022

TEHRAN: Two prominent Iranian actresses have been arrested for publicly supporting mass anti-government protests, the country’s state-run media reports.

Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi are accused of collusion and acting against Iran’s authorities, Irna news agency says.

Both women earlier appeared in public without their headscarves, a gesture of solidarity with demonstrators.

The protests erupted in September after the death of a woman in police custody.

Mahsa Amini, 22, was detained by morality police in the capital, Tehran, for allegedly breaking the strict hijab rules. She died on 16 September, three days later.

There were reports that officers beat her with a baton and banged her head against a vehicle, but police denied that she was mistreated and said she suffered a heart attack.

Ms Ghaziani and Ms Riahi – both multiple-award winning actresses – were detained on Sunday on the orders of Iran’s prosecutor’s office, Irna says.

Before the arrest, Ms Ghaziani wrote on social media that “whatever happens, know that as always I will stand with the people of Iran”.

“This maybe my last post,” she added.

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The actresses are among a number of high-profile Iranian public figures to have expressed support for the protesters rallying against the country’s clerical establishment.

Earlier on Sunday, Ehsan Hajsafi, captain of Iran’s national football team at the World Cup in Qatar, said that “we have to accept that the conditions in our country are not right and our people are not happy”.

Separately, the head of Iran’s boxing federation, Hossein Soori, announced that he would not be returning home from a tournament in Spain due to the violent suppression of the protests in his home country.

Human rights activists have said that some 400 demonstrators have been killed and 16,800 others arrested in a crackdown by security forces.

Iran’s leaders say the protests are “riots” orchestrated by the country’s foreign enemies.

At least five protesters have been sentenced to death in connection with the demonstrations.

Meanwhile, Iran captain Ehsan Hajsafi spoke out against the situation in his home country before his nation’s opening game against England at the World Cup.

Mass anti-government protests in Iran have been met with a fierce crackdown in recent months.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Monday’s game in Qatar, the 32-year-old said the players “support” those who have died.

“We have to accept that the conditions in our country are not right and our people are not happy,” he said.

Human rights activists have said more than 400 protesters have been killed and 16,800 others arrested in a crackdown by security forces.

Iran’s leaders say the protests are “riots” orchestrated by the country’s foreign enemies.

“Before anything else, I would like to express my condolences to all of the bereaved families in Iran,” defender Hajsafi said at the start of the news conference.

“They should know that we are with them, we support them and we sympathise with them.” (Int’l Monitoring Desk)

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