Iranian actress, Taraneh Alidoosti has been given a five months prison sentence for alleged propaganda activities against the government. The actress shared a video on her Twitter page of morality police insulting and attacking a woman for not wearing a hijab. Alidoosti was summoned to the Branch 9 of the Culture and Media Prosecutor’s Office on the 21 January, where she was later released on bail, reported the Variety.
Fariba Sahraei, the senior editor of the London-based Iran International, commented about the case that “many Iranians have started using social media to raise awareness about the human rights violations taking place in Iran”. She added that “the arrest and subsequent sentencing of Taranah Alidoosti demonstrates how the regime is trying to stop Iranian citizens from using social media to expose human rights abuses in the country”, reported the Albawaba.
Alidoosti is often referred to as the ‘Natalie Portman of Iran’ as she has been vocal about human rights throughout her acting career. On a Cannes press conference in 2016, her tattoo of a “woman power” symbol could be spotted, which caused outrage in Tehran. She also boycotted the Oscars ceremony in 2017 in protest of Trump’s travel ban, reported the Independent.
According to the Variety, earlier this year, the actress also criticized the Iranian government in one of her Instagram post, which was a black picture with the caption “We are not citizens, we are captives, millions of captives.”
In 2019, Freemuse documented that at least 11 artists were prosecuted in Iran because of activities that authorities categorised as “propaganda” against the state. You can read more about the current challenges in Iran in Freemuse´s report on The State of Artistic Freedom 2020.