Sahar Tabar has been detained since October 2019 and eight months ago she contracted COVID-19 in prison. Her lawyer reported that she was acquitted of two charges against her and that she now awaits a pardon.
The Iranian woman who posted highly distorted images of herself online was sentenced to 10 years in prison, one year after being detained for her social media activities.
Sahar Tabar, 19, whose real name is Fatemeh Khishvand, became famous after spreading photographs of her face with makeup and a digital edition so impressive that on social networks, they compared her to “a woman like Angelina Jolie but a zombie.”
The impact caused by her image – which was initially attributed to dozens of plastic surgeries that were later denied – became so viral in the international press that she had more than 480,000 followers on Instagram.
But in October 2019, she was arrested in Tehran and charged with corruption of youth and disrespect for the Islamic Republic. In April 2020, she asked to be given house arrest because she had contracted COVID-19 and did not want to die in Shahr-e Rey prison, a prison with a reputation for mistreating inmates. But she was transferred to a hospital, where she recovered and was not granted the house’s benefit for prison.
Finally, this week, her lawyer confirmed that she was sentenced to ten years in prison. The charges first included blasphemy, incitement to violence, obtaining income through inappropriate means, and encouraging youth corruption. According to the British daily The Guardian, the defender said she had been acquitted of two of the four charges against her but declined to comment further because she was still waiting for a pardon.
“Ten years in jail for the Iranian Instagrammer who used makeup and Photoshop to become a zombie Angelina Jolie,” lamented Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist who fights for women’s rights in the Islamic Republic. “Her joke has landed her in prison. Her mother cries every day for her innocent daughter to be released, “Alinejad wrote on her Twitter account, where she also requested the American actress that the young Tabar idolizes:” Dear Angelina Jolie! We need your voice here. Help us ”.
During his captivity, Tabar had already written to the actress, who has enormous philanthropic work worldwide, to campaign for his release. “The Islamic Republic has a history of tormenting women. We have to be united against this gender apartheid, ”the young Iranian told him.
Instagram is the only social media app in the United States that citizens can legally use in Iran. Young Iranians are also increasingly using it to practice freedom of speech and expression, severely restricted under the theocratic regime.
In late October 2019, Iranian state television aired Tabar’s “confession,” and the report described the woman as “a victim with an abnormal personality and mental state” who sought “vulgarity” on social media.
Medical records also suggested that he had a mental illness, with a history of visiting psychiatric hospitals, making the 10-year sentence even less explainable. Her lawyers had requested that she be released on bail, noting that she was a minor when she committed the alleged crimes.
Sahar Tabar was arrested at age 18 and sentenced to ten years in prison for “corrupting the youth” of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Instagram)…