In news that is sure to get civil rights advocates steaming, an Iranian woman has been jailed for appearing in a film critical of the Iranian government’s stance on freedom of speech. Actress Marzieh Vafamehr was arrested last July and recently convicted for appearing in My Tehran for Sale. In the film, Vafamehr portrayed a young actress from Tehran who becomes banned from theater work. In order to still perform, she must develop a secret life, hidden from the authorities. (Considering the subject matter, Vafamehr should have seen it coming.)
Produced with some help from Australia, My Tehran for Sale had not been approved for screening in Iran and was distributed illegally in the country. There was a good deal of criticism stemming from conservative groups as well. Though her lawyer is appealing the verdict, Vafamehr’s sentence currently stands at one year in jail and 90 lashes. There is no mention of any other arrests.
This story shouldn’t come as much surprise in a country with such limits on free speech and expression, but it doesn’t make it any less barbaric. I doubt if My Tehran for Sale would have been safe to distribute even if the film had less of a critical slant.[Via Yahoo]