Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr ‘released’

Article copied from BBC News

An Iranian actress who was sentenced to a year in prison and 90 lashes has been released after three months in custody, according to Amnesty International.

Marzieh Vafamehr was detained for appearing in 2009 Australian film My Tehran For Sale, about an actress whose stage work is banned.

Amnesty said the flogging had been overturned and her sentence commuted.

The charity said it was “deeply worrying” that other Iranian film-makers were still in prison.

According to Amsterdam-based Persian language station Radio Zamaneh, Vafamehr was released without bail.

In My Tehran For Sale, which is banned in Iran, she appeared in scenes without a hijab headscarf.

The film, which premiered at the 2009 Adelaide Film Festival, was never intended for release in Iran but is believed to have found its way onto the black market.

Last week, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences led Hollywood industry organisations in calling for the release of jailed Iranian film-makers – including Ms Vafamehr.

According to Amnesty, independent documentary makers Katayoun Shahabi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb remain in prison after they were arrested in September.

House arrest

Producer Shahabi is accused of providing foreign broadcasters, including BBC Persian TV, with material deemed damaging to Iran. Mirtahmasb was jailed after making the documentary This is Not a Film about the life of banned film director Ja’far Panahi.

Film director Mehran Zinatbakhsh is also believed to be being held in Evin Prison. It is not clear what charges he faces.

A fortnight ago, Panahi – a vocal critic of Iran’s strict Islamic law and government system – lost an appeal against a six-year prison sentence.

He was convicted in December for trying to make a documentary about unrest following the disputed 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He has not yet been imprisoned and remains under house arrest.

Fellow Iranian director, Mohammad Rasoulof, was also sentenced to six years imprisonment in a separate case and also remains under house arrest.

Broadcasts from BBC Persian TV have been jammed in Iran amid criticisms of the BBC by the country’s government.

More on The story:

Academy calls for Iran release
Iranian actress faces 90 lashes
Cannes to honor jailed Iranians

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