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Equity condemns imprisonment of Iranian actress

5 November 2013

Pegah Ahangarani, a 24-year-old actress, has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for the alleged crime of "action against national security and links to foreign media".

Ahangarani, has appeared in around 20 films and has been detained twice since the protests in 2009 over the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, although she was released without charges. The latest charges levied against her appear to lack any evidence.

Ms. Ahangarani recently spoke at a public meeting and urged Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, to appoint a culture minister who would be able to deliver promises on "freedom of thought and expression."

Equity’s International Committee for Artists Freedom, which campaigns for freedom of expression and against the persecution of performers and creative workers is appalled by this judgement and calls for the immediate release of Ms Ahangarani.

Commenting on this case, Equity’s General Secretary Christine Payne said: “This is not the first time female performers and artists have been targeted in Iran. Last year Golshifteh Farahani was prevented from returning to Iran following publication of nude photos of the actress in Le Figaro magazine. In 2011 Marzieh Vafamehr was sentenced to 90 lashes and one year in jail for her role in starring in the Australian film My Tehran for Sale. Several actors and directors have also been persecuted and imprisoned by the regime.”

Equity’s President Malcolm Sinclair added: “Equity is outraged at the imprisonment of Pegah Ahangarani and stands in solidarity with our international partners who are campaigning for her release. Freedom of thought and expression is a fundamental right and we applaud Ms Ahangarani’s efforts to bring about change in her country.”

More information about this case is available from CODIR the Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People's Rights

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