After Toronto and Cannes, the Berlin International Film Festival is the latest movie gala to condemn the arrest of Iranian actor Taraneh Alidoosti and express solidarity with the people of Iran “fighting for their rights”.
Alidoosti, 38, was taken into custody on Saturday, a week after she made a post on Instagram expressing solidarity with Mohsen Shekari, the first man recently executed for crimes allegedly committed during the protests. She was arrested by local authorities on charges of spreading falsehoods about the ongoing demonstrations in Iran.
In an Instagram post on Monday evening, the Berlin International Film Festival said: “This weekend, Iranian authorities have arrested Taraneh Alidoosti, one of the country’s most famous actors and a guest of the festival several times, after she publicly showed solidarity with the recently executed protester Mohsen Shekari in an Instagram post. Before that, the actor had – like many others – posted a picture of herself where she is not wearing a hijab and holding a sign reading the slogan that has been most frequently used in the fight against the Iranian regime, ‘women, life, freedom’.”
The star of Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning movie “The Salesman” used her influence to educate the world about the Iranian regime, the festival further said in the note.
“Alidoosti had previously announced that she would not be leaving Iran and would fight for her freedom and rights alongside Iranian citizens. The actor is only one of many recently targeted and arrested celebrities, artists, and sport personalities who have used their platform to educate about and speak against the Iranian regime. The Berlinale continues to stand in solidarity with the women and men in Iran fighting for their rights,” it said.
According to the report published on the state media’s official Telegram channel, the actor was arrested because she did not provide “any documents in line with her claims”.
The picture of Alidoosti without a hijab has been liked more than 1 million times. It appeared that her Instagram account, which had more than 8 million followers, had been shut down/suspended. In her last Instagram post, the actor said: “His name was Mohsen Shekari. Every international organisation who is watching this bloodshed and not taking action, is a disgrace to humanity.”
The Cannes Film Festival, Cameron Bailey, head of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Iranian-French actor Golshifteh Farahani, and British actor of Iranian origin Nazanin Boniadi have previously voiced their support for Alidoosti.
Iran has been rocked by protests since Mahsa Amini’s death in September. Amini, 22, was detained by Iran’s morality police, who said she didn’t properly cover her hair with the mandatory Islamic headscarf hijab. She collapsed at a police station and died three days later, setting off protests in cities across the country with the authorities responding with a fierce crackdown.