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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Iranian Actress Faces 90 Lashes For Role


An Iranian court has sentenced an
Iranian actress to 90 lashes for her role
in a new Australian-made film
portraying social alienation, drug use
and political oppression in Iran.
"In an outcome that could have been
lifted from the pages of the movie's
script"--"My Tehran for Sale"--the film's
lead actress, Marzieh Vafamehr, "was
arrested in July and received her
sentence at the weekend, according to
reports quoting Iranian opposition
website kalameh.com," the Sydney
Morning Herald reported.

"Vafamehr often appears with a shaved
head and no headscarf in the film,
which also explores cultural oppression
in Iran and taboos such as drug use,"
the paper said.

Granaz Moussavi, the Melbourne-based
Iranian-Australian director of the film,
declined to comment to the paper out of
respect for the actress' family's wishes.
Her portions of the film were "shot on
the sly in Iran with a local crew in
2008," the paper said.

Iran's justice system has provoked past
controversies over rulings that single
out offenders of the country's strict
moral codes for draconian punishment.
Last year, for example, Iranian courts
approved a death-by-stoning sentence
for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a
woman accused of adultery and murder
charges. Ashtiani's sentence was stayed,
but only after a global outcry from
international human-rights groups.

Since its disputed 2009 presidential
elections, Iran has intensified a harsh
crackdown against those perceived to
violate its strict Islamic code, but often
sentences are cruel and arbitrary. A
moratorium had been declared on
stoning in 2002, but the nation's Islamic
courts have continued to hand down
stoning sentences in accordance with
the strict wording of the law. Reliable
numbers are hard to come by, but
human-rights groups estimate that
scores of women were stoned to death
in Iran during the 1980s and 1990s.

One documented case of such a stoning
was captured on a horrifying video in
1994.
In 2009, two men were stoned to death
in Iran on charges of adultery and
murder.

Two gay teenagers, identified only by
their initials, were stoned to death in
Iran i n 2005, and two gay men received
a death-by-stoning sentence last year
after filming themselves having sex.
Various parliamentary reforms have
been mounted to reduce the penal
system's harsher sentences, but they
are not binding on the country's
independent judiciary.

Yahoo News

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