Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr has been sentenced to one year in prison and 90 lashes, for her role in the film “My Tehran for Sale
.” The actress was arrested on June 26 and spent several weeks in detention before being released on bail of $100,00 on July 27. The film was a collaborative Australian production and was screened illegally in Iran where it drew intense criticism from conservatives.
The film, which depicts the life of a young Iranian theatre actress whose work is banned, was filmed entirely in Tehran. It depicts the struggles of a modern woman against the backdrop of Iran’s repressive regime and was directed by contemporary poet Granaz Moussavi.
When Vafamehr was first arrested the authorities gave no reason, but it was believed it was because of her film role and because she appeared in one scene without a hijab. Artists Speak Out
launched an appeal for people to call on the Iranian authorities to drop the charges against Vafemehr.
Vafamehr’s arrest speaks volumes about the high levels of censorship that operate in Iran. The Iranian media is state controlled and does not tolerate criticism of the hard-line regime. According to the IB Times
Iranian Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi warned in 2007 that censorship was getting worse in the country as it tries to retain control of the image of Iran to the rest of the world.
reports that Vafamerh's lawyer has appealed the sentence.