Ashkan Khatibi with his wife Anahita Dargahi, an actress and painter. Undated

Ashkan Khatibi with his wife Anahita Dargahi, an actress and painter

Celebrities In Iran Also Pay A Price For Supporting Protests

Sunday, 12/25/2022

Ashkan Khatibi, a popular TV and cinema actor in Iran who was detained three months ago for expressing solidarity with protesters, has spoken up about his ordeal.

In a post Saturday, Khatibi, 43, said that in the past three months he has been living in hiding and fear. “I was arrested and questioned for allegations made against me 90 days ago, charged and my case was handed over to a judge,” he wrote in Persian in his post which also included a message in English.

Khatibi said his “endless” interrogations came with verbal and physical violence and that after being freed he was assaulted in the street by plainclothes security forces who accused him of blasphemy. The actor said he received so many death threats by phone that he had to change his cellphone number. “I had to leave behind my career, my life, and everything that I had worked hard for all my life.”

The actor has had a stroke during this time and is suffering from panic attacks resulting from the violence he was subjected to, but he says he’s not telling his story to make people feel sorry for him.

An undated photo of Ashkan Khatibi

”I know and you know that this [revolution] will not stop and that the blood [that is being shed] will not be in vain,” he said while making a plea, presumably to people outside Iran, to be the voice of Iranian protesters and their“unique revolution”.

‏Over 312,000 “liked” Khatibi’s Instagram post within a day, his first since the very early day of the protests that swept across the country in late September. He has also reposted some of his Instagram stories which have been used as evidence against him. “I will talk about the details of what has happened when the time is right,” he said.

Khatibi is one of scores of celebrities who have been detained for sympathizing with protesters or criticism of the government. Around fifty filmmakers and actors of Iranian cinema are currently in detention.

Actress Taraneh Alidousti holding a sign of "Woman, Life Freedom", without hijab

Only a week ago, Taraneh Alidoosti, one of Iran's most famous actors, was arrested at her home by security forces for defiantly posting a photo of herself without the compulsory veil and criticizing the death penalty. Over a million of her followers liked her post.

Alidoosti who introduced herself as “actor, translator, feminist, mom” in her social media bio, was holding a poster that read “Women, Life, Freedom”, the signature slogan of the protests or “revolution” as many prefer to say.

“Now sit and watch for the consequences of [your] blood-thirstiness,” she told regime authorities in protest to the execution of Mohsen Shekari, 23, who was hanged on December 8 in Tehran after a bogus trial.

“His name was Mohsen Shekari. Any international organization that witnesses this bloodshed but takes no action is a shame to humanity,” Alidoosti wrote.

A few days after Shekari’s execution, another young man, Majidreza Rahnavard, was hanged from a construction crane on a street in Mashhad while a hand-picked group of government officials and plainclothes security forces watched.

Instagram has deactivated Alidoosti’s account to prevent the authorities from accessing her private messages as it is a well-known fact that one of the first things that authorities do after arresting someone is demanding their email and social media account passwords to dig for information to use against the detainee and others.

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