Iranian actresses Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi arrested after publicly removing their headscarves – Reports

Iran has arrested two high-profile actresses who removed their headscarves in public to show support for the ongoing protest movement calling for women’s freedom, sparked by the detention death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last September .

According to multiple reports citing state media, Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi were arrested after being summoned by prosecutors and are accused of collusion and acting against Iranian authorities.

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Ghaziani, winner of 2008 As simple as that and 2012 Days of life, strongly criticized the repression carried out against the demonstrators. She wrote in an Instagram post over the weekend: “Maybe this will be my last post. From this moment on, whatever happens to me, know that as always, I stand with the Iranian people until my last breath. »

The accompanying video shows Ghaziani turning her back to the camera and wrapping her uncovered hair into a ponytail, a gesture that has become symbolic of women preparing to protest.

The post remained on Instagram following reports of his arrest. Iranian authorities often force political detainees to remove content from their accounts.

Riahi, who won the Best Actress award at the 2002 Cairo Film Festival The last supper, was one of the first major actresses to publicly show her support for the protests. Several weeks ago, she posted a photo of herself without a head covering and wrote: “Mourning for the women of Iran.”

AFP, citing legal news site Mizan Online, said Ghaziani was among eight people summoned by prosecutors over “provocative” information posted on social media. According to the report, other prominent actors, including Mitra Hajjar and Baran Kosari, were also summoned.

News of the arrests in Iran came as all eyes were on the Iranian soccer team, which plays its first World Cup match against England today, to see if there were any signs of dissent in front of the world’s media gathered in Qatar for the tournament.

The team came under pressure from protesters to express solidarity with the protests in their country.

Footballer Ehsan Hajsafi yesterday became the first team member to express apparent support for the anti-government protests. “They should know that we are with them. And we support them. And we sympathize with them regarding the conditions,” the AEK Athens player said at a press conference.

Ghaziani and Riahi are among a growing number of high-profile Iranian actresses publicly removing their veils and expressing support for the protests.

Among them are also Taraneh Alidoosti, present this year at the Cannes Film Festival with Title in Competition. Leila’s brothersand veteran Katayoun Amir Ebrahimi, who was one of the best-known Iranian actresses before the founding of the Islamic Republic in 1979.

Iranian authorities made it clear from the start of the protests that they would suppress dissent from prominent figures in the country’s cultural, media and sports fields. Mohsen Mansouri, governor of Tehran province, said authorities would address such figures when the time comes.

Amini died in police custody on September 16 after being arrested for failing to wear her hijab properly, in accordance with the country’s strict religious laws, and letting a few strands of her hair escape.

Police say she died of a heart attack, but eyewitnesses and people detained with the young woman said she was beaten.

Public protests sparked by his death show no signs of abating as they enter their 10th week. Demonstrations took place this weekend in several cities in Iran, despite harsh repression by security forces.

According to the nonprofit Iran Human Rights, at least 378 protesters have been killed so far by government forces, including 58 under the age of 18.

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