Actors Equity welcomes reports Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr has been released from jail.
Earlier this month Ms Vafamehr was sentenced to 90 lashes and one year in jail for her role in feature film My Tehran For Sale.
Ms Vafamehr has reportedly had her sentence reduced to three months and will not receive any form of corporal punishment. As Ms Vafamehr has already served four months in jail she has now been released.
“We wholeheartedly welcome the news Ms Vafamehr has been released from jail and we are pleased that Ms Vafamehr does not have to face corporal punishment,” said Actors Equity Australia director, Simon Whipp. “However, it is deeply disturbing that any performer could be found guilty of committing a crime and sentenced to three months in jail for appearing in a feature film. We remain concerned that any performer could receive such harsh treatment for simply doing their job and that artistic expression could be censored in such a way.”
More than 9000 people signed Actors Equity’s petition calling for the immediate release of Ms Vafamehr.
“The global acting community was deeply concerned about the welfare of Ms Vafamehr. We thank everybody who signed the petition and showed their support. We also particularly wish to thank our international colleagues including the Screen Actors Guild and the International Federation of Actors for campaigning for the release of Ms Vafamehr.” said Mr Whipp.
My Tehran For Sale is a South Australian-produced film critical of the Islamic republic’s repression of the arts. The film was shot in the Iranian capital and tells the story of a young actress whose stage work is banned by authorities.
The film premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2009 was part of the official selection for the Toronto International Film Festival but is banned in Iran.
Actors Equity has written to the Australian Ambassador of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Kevin Rudd, thanking them for any assistance they may have provided in securing the release of Ms Vafamehr.
Actors Equity wishes to thank you for lending your name and your support to this cause through what has been an extremely distressing and emotional time for Ms Vafamehr, her family and her colleagues.