Two prominent actresses arrested in Iran for not wearing hijab as protests continued

FILE - In this photo, taken by a person not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, protesters chant slogans during a protest over the death of a woman who was detained by morality police, in downtown Iran. Tehran, Iran, Sept.  21, 2022. (AP photo, file)

Two high-profile actresses, Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi, have reportedly been arrested by Iranian security forces for not wearing headscarves in public in solidarity with the ongoing nationwide protests. (Uncredited / Associated Press)

According to multiple reports citing state media, Iran has arrested two high-profile actresses for not wearing headscarves in public during a demonstration amid ongoing protests.

For their protests, award-winning actresses Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi were arrested on suspicion of “conspiracy with intent to go against state security” and “propaganda against the state,” the New York Times reported. The article quoted IRNA, Iran’s state news agency.

Ghaziani, 52, posted a video to her Instagram on Sunday of her standing on a public sidewalk without a headscarf — which is mandatory for women in Iran. She then looks at the camera before turning to put her hair in a ponytail.

“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.”

Both she and Riahi, 60, have written social media posts criticizing the government’s violent response to protests that have erupted in the country since the September death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old detained by the morality of the country. police for not wearing her hijab in accordance with government standards and died in custody several days later.

“Don’t you see what is happening to Iranian children and youth?” Riahi shared in a post from her nonprofit Komak Charity Foundation. “Know that they are beaten, interrogated and tortured in their schools.”

In Ghaziani’s video, she included a portrait, painted by Saba Soleymani, of 9-year-old Kian Pirfalak, whose family says he was killed by state security forces and is believed to be the youngest to die amid the ongoing crackdown. action against demonstrators.

Iranian courts have already sentenced at least five demonstrators to death for taking part in demonstrations. According to the BBC, critics called the trials unfair given the apparent lack of legal representation.

At least 328 people were killed and 14,825 others arrested in early November, according to human rights activists in Iran, a group that has been monitoring the two months of protests.

Even as Iranian officials tighten their grip on those who express dissent, members of Iran’s national football team remained silent during their national anthem before their World Cup match against England on Monday. Players had their arms across each other’s shoulders and did not sing the song. During the national anthem, loud jeers could be heard from the large crowd of the team’s supporters at the Khalifa International Stadium, some of whom held signs reading ‘Women, Life and Freedom’.

Iran’s captain Ehsan Hajsafi had said a day before the game that “we have to accept that the conditions in our country are not good and our people are not happy.”

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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