Two Iranian actresses arrested as authorities step up crackdown on anti-regime protesters



CNN

Two well-known Iranian actresses have been arrested by security forces after showing support for the protest movement sweeping the country as authorities step up their crackdown on dissidents.

Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi were arrested on separate occasions for publicly supporting the national protests, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

Since September, the country has seen widespread demonstrations, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s moral police. Amini, an Iranian Kurdish woman, died after being arrested for allegedly not wearing the hijab properly.

Riahi was arrested by Iranian security forces on Sunday, Tasnim news agency reported. The actress, known for her roles in the TV series “Joseph the Prophet” and “The Tenth Night” as well as films such as “The Last Supper”, had posted a video of herself without a headscarf on her account from Instagram. September 18: two days after Amini’s death.

In another incident, Ghaziani, known in Iran for her appearances in films like “As Simple as That” and “Days of Life,” posted a video on her Instagram account on Saturday showing the actress Iranian woman in public without a headscarf. , tying her loose hair in a ponytail.

“This may be my last message. From now on, if anything happens to me, know that I will always be with the people of Iran until my last breath,” he said in the caption.

Ghaziani was arrested by security forces on a warrant just a day after the video was released, according to the Tasnim news agency.

She was then taken to the prosecutor’s office and charged with acting against Iranian security and engaging in propaganda activities directed against the Iranian regime, according to the state-affiliated Fars news agency.

Ghaziani (left) and Riahi (right) were arrested after showing public support for the anti-government protests sweeping Iran.

On Sunday, Iran’s judiciary said it had sentenced a sixth person to death accused of taking part in recent protests, according to the Tasnim news agency.

Citing the Iranian judiciary, the agency said a protester who blocked traffic during a recent protest on Sattar Khan Street in Tehran and clashed with members of the Basij militia received the death penalty.

All death sentences issued are “preliminary and appealable” to Iran’s Court of Appeal, Tasnim added.

At least 378 people have been killed by Iranian security forces in total, including 47 children killed in the country since September, according to Iran Human Rights on Saturday.

CNN cannot independently verify the death toll – a precise figure is impossible for anyone outside the Iranian government to confirm – and opposition groups, international rights organizations and local journalists have given different estimates.

Four of Iran’s Kurdish cities have seen particularly intense clashes in recent days, with 13 people killed in the past 24 hours, activist Azhin Shekhi of the Norway-based Hengaw Human Rights Organization told CNN on Monday. .

According to Hengaw, casualties were reported in Kermanshah province, West Azerbaijan province and Kurdistan province, where the majority of Iran’s Kurdish population resides.

The death toll since Tuesday last week has risen to 41 people killed in Kurdish towns, Shekhi added.

Amini's death highlighted the historical grievances of Iranian Kurdish minorities in Iran.

An Iranian lawmaker representing Mahabad, which was the capital of a short-lived breakaway Kurdish republic in northwestern Iran in 1946, said at least 11 people had died in the city alone.

Jalal Mahmoodzadeh was quoted in a reformist media outlet as saying it was unclear whether the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iran’s elite military wing, was part of the security forces that crack down on Mahabad, but has written a letter to senior military officials asking them to de-escalate the situation.

The IRGC issued a statement on Sunday saying they were “strengthening forces” at a base in northwest Iran to deal with “terrorists and separatists”, a statement carried by state-aligned media said .

The reported death toll followed Hengaw’s comments to CNN over the weekend that “brutality” by regime forces had “significantly increased” against protesters in recent days.

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