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Iranian Film Actress In Custody

Source: RFE/RL

Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr has been held in a prison in a Tehran suburb for the past month on charges related to her appearance in a film, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Marzieh Vafamehr
Marzieh Vafamehr

Vafamehr's husband, Nasser Taghvai, a prominent film director and screenwriter, told RFE/RL on July 20 that the charges against his wife are nonpolitical and related to the movie " My Tehran for Sale," in which she played the lead role.

"My Tehran For Sale" (2009) is an Australian-Iranian coproduction and was the directorial debut of Granaz Mussavi. The film focuses on the social problems faced by young Iranians.

Vafamehr was arrested by the newly-established Prosecutor's Office for Culture and Media. Taghvai told RFE/RL she is supposed to be kept in detention at the Gharchak prison until the investigation is complete.

"How can the judge investigate such a case when the most important people involved in this film are no longer in Iran?" he asked.

Nasser Taghvai and Marzieh Vafamehr
Nasser Taghvai and Marzieh Vafamehr

Taghvai also said such investigations are usually carried out by the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry, whose staff at least have some knowledge of the arts and cinema, not by an institution whose staff have "no such knowledge and who mistake fiction for reality."

Actress Pegah Ahangarani and documentary filmmaker Mahnaz Mohammadi have also been taken into custody in recent weeks.

Ahangarani, who acted in the movie "Women's Prison" (2001), was scheduled to travel to Germany on July 4 to blog about the 2011 women's soccer World Cup for Deutsche Welle.

Mohammadi, the director of the documentary "Women Without Shadows," was arrested in June on unspecified charges.

Copyright (c) 2011 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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