Holy Spider star Zar Amir Ebrahimi led a demonstration in support of the people of Iran and the artists who have been detained by the country’s political regime at the Göteborg Film Festival Tuesday evening.
Ebrahimi, who this year leads the festival’s official competition jury, took the stage prior to the screening of Subtraction by Iranian filmmaker Mani Haghighi and read a statement written by a group of artists called Art Culture Action Association.
During her speech, Amir Ebrahimi urged the spectators to sign the statement, which called for listeners to show support and solidarity for the people of Iran against the actions of the political regime.
“We, artists, writers, academics, and cultural practitioners from across disciplines and various countries, support the call of our Iranian colleagues to stand in solidarity with their struggle against the repressive and despotic Islamic state in Iran,” Ebrahimi said during her speech.
“We, the undersigned, unreservedly acknowledge and support the courage of all the women, men, and children of Iran in their fight for fundamental human rights and their clearly expressed desire to renew the nation’s social contract.”
The actress was joined on stage by fellow jury members Sofie Gråbøl, Nahid Persson, and Gizem Erdogan, as well as Swedish-Iranian filmmakers and Jonas Holmberg, Artistic Director of Göteborg.
Since the beginning of the country’s revolutionary movement, 173 artists, filmmakers, and art students have been tortured, jailed, or are out on bail, according to a list published by Art Culture Action Association. Ending the demonstration, Ebrahimi read all 173 names aloud.
“We demand their immediate and unconditional release, cancellation of unjust and group sentences, abolition of the death penalty, and investigation by international institutions of torture and murders committed in prisons,” Ebrahimi added.
Haghighi’s Subtraction, the evening’s film, is a doppelgänger thriller, starring Taraneh Alidoosti in the leading role. Alidoosti was released by Iranian authorities earlier this month after posting bail. Alidoosti was arrested on December 17, 2022, days after she criticized the Iranian state’s use of the death penalty against protesters.
Ebrahimi fled Iran in 2008 due to the risk of imprisonment after an intimate video of her and her partner leaked online. In recent months, the actress has been vocal in her support of the freedom protests across Iran sparked by the death in police custody of 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini in September.
You can read the full statement below.
Urgent Statement of Solidarity for Iran
International Action Is Urgently Needed to Stop Further State Violence Against the Iranian People
Led by women, Iranians from all walks of life have demonstrated determination in standing against state brutality in the past eighty days since the killing of 22-year-old woman, Zhina Mahsa Amini, at the hands of the Islamic state in Iran. What began as a protest against mandatory hejab and decades of systemic human rights violations has now turned into the “Woman, Life, Liberty” movement, demanding the end of the theocratic rule by an unelected clerical system in Iran.
We, artists, writers, academics, and cultural practitioners from across disciplines and various countries, support the call of our Iranian colleagues to stand in solidarity with their struggle against the repressive and despotic Islamic state in Iran. We, the undersigned, unreservedly acknowledge and support the courage of all the women, men, and children of Iran in their fight for fundamental human rights and their clearly expressed desire to renew the nation’s social contract.
We air our grave concern not only for our colleagues and students in the arts and cultural spheres who have stated their demands in several actions and open letters, including a recent statement signed by nearly 6000 Iranian artists and scholars, but for citizens from all over the country who face an increasingly brutal, violent, and deadly state crackdown, with kidnappings, disappearances, imprisonments, and multiple forms of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, torture, and open threats of mass executions.
We recognise that the recent terror is not an isolated event. Over the last 44 years, the Islamic state’s machinery has resorted to all manner of social and cultural injustice, including the oppression of ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities, as well as legally sanctioned misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia. Since its inception, the theocratic system of law in Iran, controlled by the Supreme Leader and backed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its network of oligarchs, has conducted the extermination of those who stand against it. Those acts must be recognised as crimes against humanity; their perpetrators must face the international courts of law.
Calling the International Community of Artists, Writers and Academics to Action
In unison and to support our Iranian colleagues; we, artists, writers, academics, and cultural practitioners from across the world, pledge to do our utmost to:
– boycott governmental institutions of the Islamic state of Iran and their covert affiliates, and prevent them from having any presence in international arenas of arts, culture, and education;
– stand against the regime apologists who misappropriate anti-imperialist discourses in the west or other parts of the world to deflect attention away from the well-documented state violence committed against the people;
– support our counterparts and collaborators who stand against the atrocities and abuses of human rights in Iran, using our intellectual and cultural leverage and capabilities;
– create networks of support for dissidents and those who are being targeted, face intimidation, or risk harm at the hands of the regime;
– raise awareness concerning the crimes against humanity committed by the Islamic regime in Iran.
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