Iran Arrests Famous Actress Who Called Execution ‘Disgrace To Humanity’


Iranian authorities have arrested actress Taraneh Alidoosti, the star of the 2016 Oscar-Award-winning film “The Salesman,” on charges of spreading falsehoods after she posted on Instagram that the country’s recent execution of Mohsen Shekari was a “disgrace to humanity.”

Key Facts

Iranian state media IRNA said Alidoosti was detained because she failed to provide “documentation in line with her claims,” one week after she expressed solidarity in an Instagram post with a man executed in recent anti-government protests, multiple outlets reported Saturday.

In the post, she criticized the execution of Shekari, who officials claimed blocked a street and attacked a security official with a machete (charges his family disputes).

It’s the latest high-profile case of the Iranian government’s crackdown on protesters, with Amir Nasr-Azadani, a former professional soccer player, facing a possible death sentence for participating in what Iranian police claim was a group that killed a police colonel (Fifpro, soccer’s player’s union strongly condemned the arrest).

Last week, Iranian officials executed a second person, Majidreza Rahnavard, who authorities claim stabbed members of Iran’s paramilitary group, the Basij Resistance Force, but whose trial was condemned by human rights observes as based on “coerced confessions, after a grossly unfair process”; his body was hung from a crane in an apparent warning to protesters.

Alidoosti, meanwhile, had been using social media as a form of protest, posting a photo of herself on Instagram last month holding a piece of paper that read: “Woman, Life Freedom.”

In the photo, Alidoosti was not wearing a hijab, which are required by law for women in Iran—an act of apparent solidarity with Iranian women who have been protesting for months against the country’s strict moral police.

Key Background

The protests began in September, after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while in the custody of the police for allegedly disobeying the country’s strict dress code. She reportedly died as the result of being severely beaten, although authorities claim the cause of death was a heart attack. After protests gained steam and made headlines internationally, Iran reportedly disbanded its morality police and is considering lifting its requirement for women to wear hijabs. An estimated 495 people have been killed in the protests as of Friday, according to the Human Rights Activists’ News Agency.

Further Reading

Mohsen Shekari: Iran carries out first execution over protests (BBC)

Iran authorities arrest actress of Oscar-winning movie (Associated Press)