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Confirmed: Iranian Actress, Blogger in Government Custody (VIDEO)

Confirmed: Iranian Actress, Blogger in Government Custody (VIDEO)

Semi-official Iran Student’s News Agency (ISNA) has confirmed that Iranian actress Pegah Ahangarani was jailed last week for attempting to leave the country to blog about the Women’s World Cup for a German radio station, after she was warned by the Iranian government not to travel to the event.

On Monday, Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcasting service, reported that close friends of the actress have confirmed that the actress was allowed to call her mother briefly to let her know that she is being detained by the Revolutionary Guard in Tehran’s Evin Prison, Iran’s most notorious jail.  Her family now has no contact with her.

Although Iran claims that Evin holds no “political prisoners,” because such a category is not recognized legally in Iran, Evin has long since been known for its uses of solitary confinement, harsh interrogation tactics, even torture, sometimes leading to death, of government dissidents.  For women, it is not uncommon for rape to be used by interrogators, a tactic that goes back to Evin’s pre-revolutionary days.

Ahangarani in the 2001 film The Girl in the Sneakers

Ahangarani, 27, is a former award-winning child actress and daughter of filmmakers Manijeh Hekmat and Jamshid Ahangarani.  At 15, she became most well-known for her role in The Girl in the Sneakers, an Iranian film that touches on the taboo of dating in Iran.  In adulthood, she has been active in making documentaries and running an internationally-acclaimed blog on life in Iran.  In 2009, she was detained briefly for her outspoken support for reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, whose loss to harld-liner President Mahmoud Ahmedinjad in the disputed and likely rigged elections spurred riots and protests nationwide.  She briefly went into hiding after being warned by Iran’s Information Ministry not to attend the World Cup, but then decided to go as a guest blogger for Deutshe Welle.  One day before she was set to leave, Iran’s Intelligence Agency contacted her and threatened her not to leave, and she subsequently cancelled her travel plans.  Security officials arrested her at her home on July 10.  She is now in the custody of the Intelligence and Security Organization of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

“Obviously with arrest of Pegah Ahangarani,” Deutsche Welle stated, “Tehran wants not only to prevent reporting of women’s football, but first and foremost, cooperation with Germany’s international service.”

The arrest happened on the heels of Iran’s ongoing conflict with FIFA, which banned Iran’s women’s team from playing a qualifying match for the 2012 Olympics because their headscarves supposedly broke FIFA dress codes.  Iran fired back by banning the team from playing in any international soccer tournaments.

Ahangarani is also one of many well-known Iranian women who have been detained this past month for unclear charges, including sports journalist Maryam Majd, documentary filmmaker Mahnaz Mohammadi, journalist Zahra Yazdani, and campaigners Maryam Bahrman and Mansoureh Behkish.  Last year, authorities arrested and issued a six-year jail sentence to film director Jafar Panahi, famous for his film Offside, about a group of Iranian women who cross-dress as men so that they can attend an Olympic-qualifying soccer match.  Actor Ramin Parchami was arrested last February for his solidarity with the Arab Spring.

“It appears to be part of an ongoing crackdown on journalists, film-makers, activists and lawyer,” Amnesty International said in a recent statement. “Anyone whom the authorities fear may challenge their narrow view of what the Islamic Republic of Iran should be.”

According to ISNA, the investigation into Ahangarani case is still continuing.

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11:33PM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

Noted and signed with hope.

12:04AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011


... On 30 June 2000, Muslim nations that are members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) officially resolved to support the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, an alternative document that says people have "freedom and right to a dignified life in accordance with the Islamic Shari’ah", without any discrimination on grounds of "race, colour, language, sex, religious belief, political affiliation, social status or other considerations." However, the Cairo Declaration has been criticized for failing to fully recognize freedom of religion as a "fundamental and non-derogable right".


12:01AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not legally binding technically, there are no signatories to the Declaration. Instead, the Declaration was ratified through a proclamation by the General Assembly on December 10, 1948 with a count of 48 votes to none with only 8 abstentions. This was considered a triumph as the vote unified very diverse, even conflicting political regimes.

The following countries voted in favour of the Declaration: Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Thailand, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Islamist countries such as Sudan, Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia have criticized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for its perceived failure to take into the account the cultural and religious context of Islamist countries because they claimed their governments were based on the Sharia. In 1982, the Iranian representative to the United Nations, Said Rajaie-Khorassani, said that the UDHR was "a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition", which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing the Islamic law. On 30 June 2000, Muslim nations

1:03AM PDT on Aug 4, 2011

Unfortunately, this is far too common, not just in Iran, but all over the islamic world. I am constantly attacked on Care2 for my SUPPOSED "islamophobia".

I HATE islam ... I love the (DECENT) muslim people, whose rights are constantly violated by the INDECENT islamists & mullahs, ayatollahs, etc.

As a Care2 member, I have signed many petitions in support of muslim women facing stoning; political prisoners in islamic countries who are facing execution for "apostasy", "Blasphemy", or some other "crime" against islam; Gays executed under Sharia laws! Dogs raped in Turkey; the ownership of dogs illegal in Iran. Christians in muslim countries are being persecuted; Iraqi Christians are having to flee, yet Iraqi muslims are given preference as "refugees"!

I am currently facing quite a few "Islam defenders" who are trying to get me banned, or personally attacking me, for my outspoken opposition to the Human Rights, Women's RIghts, Animal Rights violations occurring daily in muslim majority countries! Some are trying to get me banned. Indeed, several of my friends have already been banned -- with no explanation given!

If Care2 is truly about "Caring" and "Sharing", we MUST pressure the islamic countries to SIGN the Universal Declaration on Human Rights -- and stop the double standards! And Care2 must be FAIR, and support those of us who oppose the oppression & violence perpetrated in the name of islam, and the islamization of the West.

The Human RIght

4:03PM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

shaking my head ~ and I as an American am bad and hated worldwide?

Why are so many people afraid of WOMEN? so many cultures and so much hatred.

As an american (oh wait Finnish American) I applaude my country for at least trying to stand up for people and right wrongs that have happened in the past.

And as a WOMAN iran get out of my face you evil twisted nasty icky people. Why are you so afraid of girls?

7:55AM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

@ Timothy M. HUH?

7:45AM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

Hope she is freed soon and she's alright and I hope we don't have to sign any petition like this ever again.

11:58PM PDT on Jul 20, 2011

thanks for sharing the article petition signed

9:53PM PDT on Jul 20, 2011

So this one's not some guy in England?

6:27PM PDT on Jul 20, 2011


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