Hollywood Rallies Against Iran’s Draconian Verdicts Against Filmmakers And Stars

Marzieh Vafamehr, the Iranian actress who was sentenced to a year in prison and 90 lashes for appearing in the government-banned film My Tehran For Sale, has been released from prison, according to Amnesty International. According to the human rights organization, her sentence was reduced to three months and her lashing sentence was overturned; she was released Monday. The movie, an Australian production that wasn’t supposed to be seen in Iran but hit the black market, stars Vafamehr as an actress who is banned from working onstage by Iranian authorities. It shows Vafamehr without a headscarf, and other Iranian young people going to underground raves, smoking hashish and having sex before marriage.

Meanwhile, the recent rash of harsh action against filmmakers in Iran has resulted in the imprisonment of three BBC documentary helmers and sentences for internationally acclaimed directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof that include jail, a ban from making movies and restrictions on leaving the country. Panahi’s sentence was recently upheld. Amnesty also said Iranian director Mojtaba Mir Tahmasb remains in prison after helming the documentary This Is Not A Film, which chronicled Panahi’s house arrest and was smuggled to France to debut at the Cannes Film Festival. “(The filmmakers’) continued detention illustrates the Iranian authorities’ desperate efforts to stifle any form of dissent,” Amnesty Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said.