A teenage girl from the Islamic Republic of Iran is currently facing a decade in prison after she was arrested for posting altered photographs on her social media accounts.
According to The Guardian, 19-year-old Fatemeh Khishvand, who goes by Sahar Tabar, was arrested after being accused of the “corruption” of young people and for disrespecting Iran after creating photos that made her look like a zombie version of Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie. The creepy images, creating using Photoshop, make up, and other image-editing software, had earned her close to half a million followers on Instagram.
However, while many praised her artistic abilities and saw the posts as a commentary on beauty standards, authorities in the Islamic nation arrested her — along with three other Instagram users — back in October 2019. The charges against the teenager included “blasphemy, inciting violence, gaining income through inappropriate means and encouraging youths to corruption.” Though she has been cleared of two of the charges, she has not revealed which two in the hope that remaining silent on the issue will increase her chances of receiving a pardon.
Journalists and activists are hoping to bring awareness to her plight, which may increase the chances of a pardon as well. For example, reporter Masih Alinejad attempted to enlist the help of Angelina Jolie with a series of tweets on Tabar’s situation.
“I call on Angelina Jolie to help an Iranian 19-year-old girl who received 10 years prison sentence for using makeup & Photoshop to turn herself into Angelina. Islamic Republic has a history of tormenting women. We need to be united against this gender apartheid,” she tweeted.
I call on international media to write about this horrifying story.
This girl was only 18 when she got arrested in Iran.
Another girl Saba Kordafshari was only 19, Yasaman Aryani was 20 and now all of them are in jail for the crime of “Promoting moral corruption”!
Be our voice. pic.twitter.com/7iDzhLiCDE
— Masih Alinejad ????️ (@AlinejadMasih) December 11, 2020
Another tweet referenced the despair of both Tabar and her family.
“[Ten] years jail for Iranian Instagramer who used make up & Photoshop… Sahar Tabar is only 19. Her joke landed her in jail. Her mother cries every day to get her innocent daughter freed. Dear Angelina Jolie! we need your voice here. Help us,” she wrote.
Tabar’s supporters have also hoped to gain sympathy for the teen by releasing details about her troubled mental history. Medical records indicated that she has previously been a patient in mental hospitals and her lawyers are hopeful this may help reduce her sentence.
Tabar has since expressed remorse over the images and their “vulgarity” and her apology was broadcast on Iranian television. In addition, the teen grabbed national headlines after pleading for a release from prison this past spring after contracting COVID-19.
During that time, the disease ravaged the Middle Eastern country. International watchdogs have claimed that Iran has likely covered up the true number of infections and fatalities caused by the virus.