31 October 2013
The Committee for the Defence of Iranian People's Rights (CODIR) has today (31 October) issued a press release in support of Pegah Ahangarani, a 24 year old actor, sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. The full release appears below. BECTU will be sending a letter of support for the campaign.
Press Release For Immediate Use
CODIR condemns imprisonment of Iranian actress
The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR) has today condemned the sentencing in Iran this week of 24 year old actress, Pegah Ahangarani, to 18 months in jail for the alleged and baseless crime of "action against national security and links to foreign media".
Ahangarani, has appeared in around 20 films and has been detained twice since the protests in 2009 over the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, although she was released without charges.
Following the recent election victory of Hassan Rouhani, who was elected on an allegedly reformist platform, Ms. Ahangarani asked him at a public meeting to appoint a culture minister who would be able to deliver promises on "freedom of thought and expression."
Since 2011 Ms. Ahangarani has been banned from travelling abroad indicating that the authorities have not been comfortable with her activism. The election of Rouhani has not changed this position. Indeed, there is no evidence that Ahangarani has been engaged in any “action against national security” or that she has “links to foreign media” over and above those which would be commensurate with her profession.
Call for international support
CODIR Assistant General Secretary, Jamshid Ahmadi, stressed the importance of the international arts community taking up Ahangarani’s case.
“International pressure is always important to highlight the injustices of the Iranian regime and to expose their human rights abuses”, said Mr. Ahmadi. “In this instance it is particularly critical as many artists in Iran feel pressured to keep silent on Ms. Ahangarani’s case, as they fear that speaking out will subject them to the same fate.”
CODIR has contacted the key media unions in the UK including the NUJ, BECTU and EQUITY urging them to raise the case of Ms Ahangarani with the Iranian government.
“The 18 month jail sentence appears to be an attempt to gag Ms. Ahangarani and intimidate the wider arts community into silence, hardly the agenda of a reformist presidency”, said Mr Ahmadi. “Pressure from the trades union movement in the UK and internationally is vital if we are to get this decision reversed and we are doing all in our power to make them aware of this case.”
The Chicago Film Festival is currently showing Ahangarani's latest film, Darband, about a female university student who becomes the roommate of a young woman wrestling with financial problems.
CODIR Contact Information:-
Further information for Editors
- CODIR is the Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights. It has been established since 1981 and has consistently campaigned to expose human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
- CODIR has worked closely with the trade union movement in the UK, the peace movement, all major political parties and Amnesty International to press the case for an end to torture in Iran’s prisons. A number of trade unions including UNISON and RMT are affiliated to CODIR.
- CODIR has published Iran Today, its quarterly journal, since 1981, explaining the latest developments in Iran and the most effective way that the British public opinion could demonstrate its solidarity with the people of Iran.
- In recent years CODIR has worked closely with Stop the War Coalition and has been vocal against any form of foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the nation.
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