Iran Puts Two Film and TV Stars Behind Bars For Boldly Protesting in Public Without Headscarfs

Popular Iranian actors Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi have been arrested and imprisoned in Iran after they appeared in public and on social media having removed their headscarves in a bold act of defiance and protest against the death of Mahsa Amini.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said that Ghaziani and Riahi are now both behind bars after being summoned by the country’s prosecutors in a probe due to “provocative” social media posts.

Ghaziani, a film and theater actor who has won many acting accolades in Iran, on Saturday published a powerful video of herself on Instagram removing her hijab and walking proudly in a Tehran street.

“Maybe this will be my last post,” she wrote. “From this moment on, whatever happens to me, know that as always, I am with the Iranian people until my last breath.”

A post shared by Hengameh Ghaziani (@hengamehghaziani)

Riahi, who has starred in many Iranian movies and TV shows, including the internationally known series “Prophet Joseph,” which draws from the Quran and Islamic traditions, and has also won many awards, was arrested shortly after Ghaziani as part of the same probe, according to IRNA.

After appearing without a hijab in September in a TV interview given to a London-based broadcaster, Riahi had expressed solidarity with the protests that have swept Iran since Amini’s death. Iran’s morality police arrested Amini, who was 22, on Sept. 13 in Tehran. She died at a police station three days later. The police say she died of a heart attack, but she had no history of a cardiac condition.

Earlier this month, Taraneh Alidoosti, known to international audiences for her role in Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman,” posted an image of herself without a hijab on social media, making global headlines.

Alidoosti, who has vowed to stay in her homeland at “any price,” has not been detained.

Farhadi, who in September from the Zurich Film Festival issued a statement and video appeal urging artists around the world to proclaim their solidarity with the Iranian people protesting against the death of Amini, has not since returned to Iran.

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