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Radio France Internationale
Radio France Internationale

Cannes Film Festival calls for release of Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti

Taraneh Alidoosti poses for photographers at the photo call for the film 'Leila's Brothers' at the 75th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole) AP - Daniel Cole

The Cannes Film Festival has condemned the arrest and demanded the immediate release of the award-winning Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, who was among the most prominent people to be arrested during Iran's months-long protests.

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

The unrest was sparked by the death in September of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, who was in custody, accused accused by the country's so-called morality police of violating the Islamic Republic's strict dress code for women.

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.

International condemnation

Alidoosti, who starred in the Oscar-winning "The Salesman", was at Cannes in May to promote "Leila's Brothers" by Saeed Roustaee in the main competition, which won a prize in the Fipresci film critics' category.

The festival tweeted its "full support" to Alidoosti, "in solidarity with the peaceful struggle she is carrying out for freedom and women's rights".

    Actress Golshifteh Farahani, who lives in exile, called Alidoosti "the brave actress of Iran" and noted her arrest in a post on Instagram with a photo of her and Alidoosti together and the Persian hashtag "free Taraneh Alidoosti".

    An image obtained from social media shows Taraneh Alidoosti posing with her hair uncovered to express support for nationwide anti-government protests, in this image released on November 9, 2022. via REUTERS - TARANEH ALIDOOSTI VIA INSTAGRAM

    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".

    The Oslo-based monitor Iran Human Rights said Saturday Iran's security forces had killed at least 469 people in the protests.

    Iran blames the United States and other "enemies" for trying to destabilise the country by fuelling the demonstrations.

    (with wires)

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