Jan 4, 2023 - World

Iranian actress jailed for supporting protests is released

Taraneh Alidoosti

Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti is welcomed by friends and colleagues on Jan. 4 upon being released from prison on bail. Photo: Gisoo Faghfoori/Sharghdaily/AFP via Getty Images

Iranian authorities released actress Taraneh Alidoosti on bail Wednesday, several weeks after she had been arrested for criticizing the government's crackdown on anti-government protests.

Driving the news: Alidoosti, who starred in Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning 2016 film “The Salesman,” was arrested on Dec. 17 following several social media posts expressing solidarity with the protesters and condemning the government's actions, Reuters reported.

  • In an Instagram post in November, Alidoosti posted a photo of herself without wearing the mandatory hijab and holding a sign with the protesters' slogan of "woman, life, freedom" written in Kurdish.
  • In another Instagram post before her account was disabled, Alidoosti expressed solidarity with Mohsen Shekari, who was executed by the authorities on Dec. 8 in the first known execution in response to the protests.
  • "His name was Mohsen Shekari,” Alidoosti wrote, AP reported. “Every international organization who is watching this bloodshed and not taking action, is a disgrace to humanity.”

The big picture: The protests began in mid-September in response to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iranian authorities, prompting some of the largest anti-government protests in years.

  • Alidoosti was initially arrested for “lack of evidence for her claims” in connection to her post about Shekari, per CNN.
  • “Today, my client Ms Taraneh Alidoosti will be released from Evin prison after posting bail," her attorney, Zahra Minooei, wrote on Twitter, the Guardian reported.
  • Iranian media reports did not specify whether Alidoosti has been charged with a crime or whether she will have to stand trial, AP reported.
  • Iranian authorities have arrested celebrities who have supported the protests, including fellow actresses Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi.

State of play: Photos circulated on social media Wednesday of Alidoosti posing in front of Iran's notorious Evin prison, holding a bouquet of flowers and surrounded by supporters.

  • At least 516 protesters have been killed and more than 19,000 arrested, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency.
  • Nearly 600 international actors, directors and other artists had signed an open letter calling for Alidoosti's release.
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