Iranian actress spared 90 lashes over role in Australian film
AN IRANIAN actress who was sentenced to 90 lashes and one year in prison after she appeared in an Australian-made film that was critical of the regime's hardline policies has been released from prison.
Marzieh Vafamehr, 38, was arrested in July after illegal copies of the 2009 film My Tehran For Sale began circulating in Iran.
The film, which premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival but is banned in Iran, tells the story of a young actress in the capital whose work is outlawed by the authorities.
It was produced by the South Australia-based company Cyan Films and directed by Iranian-Australian Granaz Moussavi.
On Friday Cyan Films and Amnesty International released a statement saying Miss Vafamehr had been freed on Monday on appeal and had been reunited with her family.
Her prison sentence was commuted to three months and the ruling that she should be lashed 90 times was overturned.
"As filmmakers we believe in freedom of speech and support all artists who are imprisoned and punished in Iran for expressing themselves through their art," Cyan Films producers Kate Croser and Julie Ryan said in a statement.
"We admire their courage and the contribution they make to sharing with the world their truth about life for Iranian people."
My Tehran For Sale was partly shot in the Iranian capital, with the permission of the Iranian Government.
At the time of Ms Vafamehr's sentencing the film's producers said they believed the accusations against her related to scenes in the film in which she appeared without a hijab.
However, the actress had appeared in other Iranian films without the traditional head covering, so the sentence was unprecedented, they said.
Sentences for public flogging are common in Iran but are not always carried out.
However, earlier this year a student was lashed 74 times for insulting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Peyman Aref was whipped in front of his wife and family, with pictures taken after his release from prison showing his back covered in bloody wounds.