Two well-known Iranian actresses have been arrested by security forces after demonstrating support for the protest movement gripping the country as authorities step up their crackdown on dissidents.
Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi were arrested on several occasions for publicly supporting the nationwide protests, according to the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.
There have been widespread demonstrations in the country since September, provoked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while detained by Iran’s vice squad. Amini, a Kurdish Iranian woman, died after being detained for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly.
Riahi was arrested by Iranian security forces on Sunday, Tasnim News Agency reported. The actress, who is known for her roles in television series “Joseph the Prophet” and “The Tenth Night”, as well as films such as “The Last Supper”, had posted a video of herself without a headscarf on her Instagram account on September 18 – two days after Amini’s death.
In a separate incident, Ghaziani, who is known in Iran for her performances in films such as “As Simple as That” and “Days of Life,” posted a video on her Instagram account on Saturday showing the Iranian actress in public without headscarf. , her loose hair tied up in a ponytail.
“This may be my last post. If anything happens to me from this moment on, know that I will always be with the people of Iran until my last breath,” she said in the caption.
According to Tasnim News Agency, Ghaziani was arrested by security forces in possession of a court order just one day after the video was posted.
She was subsequently taken to the prosecutor’s office and charged with acting against Iranian security and carrying out propaganda against the Iranian regime, according to the state-affiliated Fars news agency.
Iran’s judiciary said on Sunday it had sentenced to death a sixth person accused of taking part in recent protests, according to Tasnim News Agency.
Citing Iran’s judiciary, the agency said a protester who blocked traffic during a recent protest on Tehran’s Sattar Khan Street and clashed with members of the Basij militia was given the death penalty.
Any death sentences handed down are “provisional and subject to appeal” to Iran’s Court of Appeals, Tasnim added.
A total of at least 378 people have been killed by Iranian security forces, including 47 children who have died in the country since September, according to Iran Human Rights.
CNN cannot independently verify the death toll – an exact figure cannot be confirmed by anyone outside the Iranian government – and various estimates have been given by opposition groups, international rights organizations and local journalists.
Four of Iran’s Kurdish cities have experienced particularly intense clashes in recent days, with 13 killed in the past 24 hours, activist Azhin Shekhi of the Norway-based Hengaw Organization for Human Rights told CNN Monday.
Victims were recorded in Kermanshah province, West Azerbaijan province and Kurdistan province — home to the majority of Iran’s Kurdish population — according to Hengaw.
The death toll since last Tuesday has risen to 41 dead in Kurdish cities, Shekhi added.
An Iranian MP representing Mahabad, the capital of a short-lived Kurdish breakaway republic in northwestern Iran in 1946, said at least 11 people had been killed in the city alone.
Jalal Mahmoodzadeh was quoted in a reformist media outlet as saying it is unclear whether the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – Iran’s elite military wing – was part of the security forces crackdown in Mahabad, but he has written a letter to top military officials saying: the request to de-escalate the situation.
The IRGC released a statement on Sunday saying it is “reinforcing forces” at a base in northwestern Iran to deal with “terrorists and separatists,” according to a statement published by state-aligned news outlets.
The reported death toll followed comments made by Hengaw to CNN over the weekend that government forces’ “cruelty” had “increased significantly” against protesters in recent days.