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Jailed Iranian actress Vafamehr released

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    Jailed Iranian actress Vafamehr released CBC News Posted: Oct 28, 2011 12:40 PM ET Last Updated: Oct 28, 2011 12:38 PM ET  Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr,
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 4, 2011

      Jailed Iranian actress Vafamehr released

      CBC News

      Posted: Oct 28, 2011 12:40 PM ET

      Last Updated: Oct 28, 2011 12:38 PM ET


       Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr, depicted in a scene from the movie My Tehran for Sale, has been released from jail and spared flogging, Amnesty International said. (Bonnie Elliott/Cyan Films)


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      The Iranian actress sentenced to a year in jail and 90 lashes for her turn in an Australian film has been released, according to Amnesty International.

      Marzieh Vafamehr was released from custody Monday night after an appeal court reduced her jail term to three months and overturned the flogging sentence, according to a statement from the human rights organization.

      Vafamehr starred in the 2009 film My Tehran for Sale, which received funding from the Adelaide Film Festival and South Australian Film Corporation. Iranian director Granaz Moussavi reported that the actress is now back with her family.

      Filmed in Tehran, My Tehran for Sale is critical of Iran's hard-line policies in its tale of a young stage performer whose work is banned by authorities. The drama made several stops on the festival circuit, including at the Toronto International Film Festival. Though officially banned by Iranian authorities, the film is believed to be available on the black market in Iran.

      The Amnesty statement welcomed Vafamhr's release, but pointed out that a number of Iranian filmmakers remain imprisoned.

      "In recent months an increasing number of filmmakers and actors have been targeted for persecution in Iran. While the release of Marzieh Vafamehr is a welcome development, it is deeply worrying that ...filmmakers are still being held in Tehran's Evin Prison," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

      "Their continued detention illustrates the Iranian authorities' desperate efforts to stifle any form of dissent. These people have done nothing except sell their documentaries to a foreign broadcaster or make a film about a banned director. They should be released immediately and unconditionally," she added.

      The producers of My Tehran for Sale also issued a statement in support of imprisoned Iranian artists.

      "As filmmakers we believe in freedom of speech and support all artists who are imprisoned and punished in Iran for expressing themselves through their art," Cyan Films producers Kate Croser and Julie Ryan said in the joint statement.

      "We admire their courage and the contribution they make to sharing with the world their truth about life for Iranian people."

      The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists, TIFF, other prominant international cinema organizations and human rights groups have condemned the detention of Iranian filmmakers and publicly called for their release.

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