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Iranian actress Pegah Ahangarani arrested earlier this month: report

BERLIN: Iranian authorities have arrested another member of the country’s filmmaking community. Actress and filmmaker Pegah Ahangarani, 27, was arrested earlier this month in her flat and has not been seen since, the Spiegel weekly said. Ahangarani is said to be a supporter of the Iranian opposition movement.

In a Sunday press report, Spiegel said Ahangarani was intending to cover the women’s football World Cup in Germany, which was due to wrap up Sunday, for German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. She was apparently being held in Tehran’s notorious Evin jail.

Deutsche Welle said Ahangarani was to travel to Germany for the tournament and write an Internet blog about it.

According to sources close to Ahangarani cited by Deutsche Welle’s Persian language service, she was summoned to the Interior Ministry the day before she was due to travel and threatened with arrest if she tried to leave the country.

As a result of this and further “threats” Ahangarani decided not to attempt to travel to Germany, and on July 14 it was confirmed that she had been arrested four days earlier, Deutsche Welle said.

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

Ahangarani has acted in 11 Iranian feature films since 2001 and in 2008 made her first documentary “Deh Namaki-ha,” about ultra-conservative Iranian activist Masoud Dehnamaki.

Her past journalism has included a blog about the Berlin International Film Festival, and last year she came to Bonn in western Germany for a blogs awards ceremony, Deutsche Welle said.

Another Iranian reporter accredited to cover the tournament, Maryam Majd, was arrested on June 26, according to the German government’s top human rights official Markus Loening, who said Berlin was “outraged.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 18, 2011, on page 16.
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