Iranian authorities arrested one of the country’s most famous actresses on charges of spreading falsehoods about nationwide protests that grip the country, state media said on Saturday.
The report by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said Taraneh Alidoosti, star of the Oscar-winning movie, The Salesman, was jailed a week after she made a post on Instagram expressing solidarity with the first man recently executed for crimes allegedly committed during the nationwide protests.
IRNA also said several other Iranian celebrities had ″been summoned by the judiciary body over publishing provocative content″.
It did not say how many or provide further details.
According to the report published on the state media’s official Telegram channel, Alidoosti was arrested because she did not provide “any documents in line with her claims”.
In her post, the 38-year-old actress said, ”His name was Mohsen Shekari. Every international organisation who is watching this bloodshed and not taking action, is a disgrace to humanity.”
Shekari was executed December 9 after being charged by an Iranian court with blocking a street in Tehran and attacking a member of the country’s security forces with a machete.
Speedy death sentences
Last Week, Iran executed a second prisoner, Majidreza Rahnavard, in connection with the protests. Rahnavard’s body was left hanging from a construction crane as a warning to others. Iranian authorities alleged Rahnavard stabbed two members of its paramilitary force.
Both men were executed less than a month after they were charged, underscoring the speed at which Iran now carries out death sentences imposed for alleged crimes related to the demonstrations. Activists have said at least a dozen people have been sentenced to death in closed-door hearings.
Alidoosti has made at least three posts on her Instagram account expressing solidarity with protesters since the demonstrations broke out in September. Her account, which had some eight million followers, has been suspended.
Iran has been rocked by protests since the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after being jailed by the morality police. The protests have since morphed into one of the most serious challenges to Iran’s governmental system, created after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Alidoosti has previously criticised the Iranian government and its police force.
In June 2020, she was given a suspended five-month prison sentence after she criticised the police on Twitter in 2018 for assaulting a woman who had removed her headscarf.
Other movies Alidoosti has stared in include, The Beautiful City, and, About Elly.
Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi, two other famous actresses in Iran, were arrested by authorities for expressing solidarity with protesters on social media. Both have been released.
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 they began.
More than 18,200 people have been detained by authorities.