LONDON: Actors, novelists, directors and other members of the international arts community are demanding the immediate release of Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, The Guardian reported on Tuesday.
Alidoosti, one of the country’s most famous actresses, was arrested on Saturday on charges of spreading false information about nationwide protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death.
The detainment of the 38-year-old star of the Oscar-winning film “The Salesman,” according to IRNA, came a week after she made a post on Instagram expressing solidarity with the first man recently executed for crimes committed during protests.
She also posted a photo of herself without the headscarf and holding a piece of paper that read “women, life, freedom” on her now-deleted account.
Celebrities including Emma Thompson, Mark Rylance, Mark Ruffalo, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Steve McQueen, Ian McKellen, David Hare and Juliet Stevenson signed an open letter calling for her release from Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, The Guardian reported.
“The Iranian authorities have strategically chosen to arrest Taraneh before Christmas to ensure her international peers would be distracted,” the signatories wrote.
They added: “But we are not distracted. We are outraged. Taraneh Alidoosti, like all citizens of Iran, has a right to freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention. We hereby stand in solidarity with her and demand her immediate release and safe return to her family.
“Taraneh was arrested for her condemnation on Instagram of the execution of Mohsen Shekari, the first protester receiving a death sentence since nationwide protests following the brutal police murder of Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini began in September.”
Alidoosti is one of the most influential figures arrested thus far in the Iranian authorities’ crackdown, along with many lawyers, journalists and activists.
Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, who directed four of the films she starred in, also called for her release on Tuesday.