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Cannes film festival protests arrest of Iranian actress

Taraneh Alidoosti at the closing ceremony of the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 22, 2016, in France. Photo: CNN

The Cannes Film Festival has condemned the arrest of Iranian actress, Taraneh Alidoosti who is among other prominent protesters during the country’s month-long protests and is demanding her immediate release.

The 38-year-old award-winning actress was arrested on Saturday after a series of messages on social media supporting the protest movement – including removing her headscarf and condemning the execution of protesters.

Iran has been rocked with continuous protests ignited by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman in September, who was in custody, accused by the country’s morality police of violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.

“I have worked with Taraneh on four films and now she is in prison for her rightful support of her fellow countrymen and her opposition to the unjust sentences being issued. If showing such support is a crime, then tens of millions of people of this land are criminals”, Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi said via his Instagram account.

Joining other film festivals in condemning the arrest, a spokesperson of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also said they were “seriously concerned” by the detention of Alidoosti “for simply expressing her views on the current protests and particularly the execution of Mohsen Shekari”.

Alidoosti’s most recent social media post was on 8 December, the same day Mohsen Shekari, 23, became the first person executed by authorities over the protests.

“Your silence means the support of the oppression and the oppressor”, read a post on her Instagram account, which was no longer accessible on Sunday.

Writing by Muzha Kucha