Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr, who was sentenced to a year in jail and 90 lashes for starring in the Australian production “My Tehran for Sale,” has been released from prison without suffering the lashes and further imprisonment. According to Amnesty International, Cyan Films, the South Australian Film Corporation and the Adelaide Film Festival, Vafamehr was released after an appeal court reduced her imprisonment to three months and overturned the flogging sentence on Monday night.
The good news came courtesy of the film’s director, Granaz Moussavi, who reported that Vafamehr is now back with her family.
Shot entirely in Tehran, “My Tehran for Sale,” stars Vafamehr as a stage actress who plots to flee Iran with the help of a man she meets at an underground rave. Banned in Iran, the movie was distributed illegally in the country and premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. Vafamehr was initially arrested in July and was released later that month after posting unspecified bail. [Here’s indieWIRE’s interview out of Toronto with Moussavi.]
“We are extremely pleased to hear that Marzieh has been released without being subjected to the cruel and degrading punishment of flogging, but the crackdown on filmmakers continues in Iran,” said Amnesty International’s Campaigns Manager, Hannah Harborow, in a statement.
Just a last week, it was reported that a Tehran appeals court upheld the six-year jail sentence and 20-year filmmaking ban against director Ja’far Panahi (“This is Not a Film”). Fellow Iranian director, Mohammad Rasoulof (“Good Bye”), was also sentenced to six years imprisonment in a separate case and also remains under house arrest.
In addition, four filmmakers arrested on suspicion of working for the BBC still remain in custody (two of the six were released earlier this month), while the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma removed Abdolreza Kahani’s “Absolutely Tame Is a Horse” from its lineup due to a ban on the film’s international distribution by the Iranian government.
Here’s the trailer for “My Tehran for Sale”: