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Iran reportedly sentences film actress to 90 lashes

Wednesday 12 October 2011, by siawi3

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/envoy/iran-sentences-film-actress-90-lashes-214527275.html

By Laura Rozen

Senior Foreign Affairs Reporter

source: The Envoy – Mon, Oct 10, 2011

(Bonnie Elliott/Sydney Morning Herald)

An Iranian court has sentenced an Iranian actress to one year in jail and 90 lashes related to her role in an Australian-made film portraying social alienation, artistic repression and drug use in Iran, according to an Iranian opposition website.

“In an outcome that could have been lifted from the pages of the movie’s script”—“My Tehran for Sale”—the film’s lead actress, Marzieh Vafamehr, “was arrested in July and received her sentence at the weekend, according to reports quoting Iranian opposition website kalameh.com,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

In the 2009 film, Vafamehr portrays a Tehran actress whose theater work is banned by the authorities and is thus driven to Tehran’s cultural underground. Ultimately, she contemplates whether to leave Iran for exile abroad.

“Vafamehr often appears with a shaved head and no headscarf in the film, which also explores cultural oppression in Iran and taboos such as drug use,” the paper said.

Vafamehr’s attorney has reportedly appealed the sentence which was handed down on Saturday. Technically, she was accused of participating in a film whose shooting did not have the required permits. However, both the film’s director and the actress’s filmmaker husband Nasser Taghvai said the charge is baseless.

“The accusations against Marzieh have no grounds,” Granaz Moussavi, the Melbourne-based Iranian-Australian director of the film, said in a statement Tuesday, the AP reported. “All the documentation has been provided to the Iranian court to show that permits were in place for the production of the film.”

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd also expressed concern about the sentence Tuesday.

“The Australian government condemns the use of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is deeply concerned by reports that Ms. Marzieh Vafamehr has been sentenced to one year in jail and 90 lashes for her role in an Australian-produced film,” a spokeswoman for Rudd said in a statement, the AP wrote. “The Australian government urges Iran to protect the rights of all Iranians and foreign citizens.”