Stiff Sentence: Iran's 'Zombie Angelina Jolie' Jailed For 10 Years

Published December 12th, 2020 - 08:02 GMT
Iranian 'Zombie Angelina Jolie' (Instagram)
Iranian 'Zombie Angelina Jolie' (Instagram)
Her images - which made her appear to be a zombie-Angelina Jolie lookalike - gathered her 486,000 followers.  

The Iranian 'Zombie Angelina Jolie' Instagram star has been jailed for a decade, her lawyer has said, a year after she was arrested over her social media activities.

Sahar Tabar, 19, whose real name is Fatemeh Khishvand, from Tehran, shot to prominence after posting images of her eerily gaunt face.

Her images - which made her appear to be a zombie-Angelina Jolie lookalike - gathered her 486,000 followers.  

Many saw the stunt as a joke or as social commentary, but on October 5 2019, Sahar was arrested in Iran, along with three other female Instagram influencers.  

Iranian Journalist Masih Alinejad told the MailOnline that she has spoken to Tabar's lawyer, who confirmed his client had been sentenced to 10 years in prison in the past few days for 'promoting public corruption'. 

Ms Alinejad first shared the news on Twitter, writing: '10 years jail for Iranian Instagramer who used make up & Photoshop to become a zombie Angelina Jolie.

'Sahar Tabar is only 19. Her joke landed her in jail,' she wrote. 'Her mother cries every day to get her innocent daughter freed. Dear Angelina Jolie! we need your voice here. Help us.' 

Ms Alinejad also called on Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie to petition for Tabar's release in a video, adding 'Islamic Republic has a history of tormenting women. We need to be united against this gender apartheid.' 

Charges against Tabar first included blasphemy, inciting violence, gaining income through inappropriate means and encouraging youths to corruption, Tasnim news agency reported at the time.

She was detained on the orders of Tehran's guidance court, which deals with 'cultural crimes and social and moral corruption'. 

At the time, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Channel 3 (IRIB TV3) said that Tabar was facing between three months and two years in prison. 

The social media star shot to fame in 2017 after she reportedly had 50 surgeries to make her look like the Oscar-winning actress Ms Jolie.

She later confirmed her look was mostly was achieved through make-up and editing in a pre-trial television interview in which appeared as a 'zombie', with her face mostly blurred out.

She told the interviewer that she did not look like her Instagram pictures because they were heavily edited in Photoshop.

Tabar also said that it had been her childhood dream to become famous, and that she had persisted with her efforts to build her Instagram following despite her mother's objections. 

In July 2019, Sahar unveiled her former appearance for the first time, sharing a side-by-side snaps of her pre and post surgery.

She later admitted she'd had some surgery such as a nose job, lip fillers and liposuction but insisted most of her unusual appearance is down to make-up and editing.

She said: 'This is Photoshop and makeup. Every time I publish a photo, I paint my face in an increasingly funny way. It is a way of expressing yourself, a kind of art. My fans know that this is not my real face.'

She added: 'I did not even think about being like Jolie. Also, I did not want to resemble the cartoon character the Corpse Bride.

'Now I understand that I have something to do with them, but I am a muse myself and remembering someone is not an end in itself.'

In some, she can be seen wearing a loosely fitting hijab over her hair and a white bandage on her nose commonly seen on Tehran's streets.

Cosmetic surgery is hugely popular in the Islamic republic, with tens of thousands of operations taking place each year.

Instagram is the only major social media service accessible in Iran unlike Facebook and Twitter and the Telegram messenger service are officially banned.

In April this year, it was also reported that Tabar had caught Covid-19, with the US-based Center For Human Rights In Iran saying a judge in the country refused to grant her bail despite the fact that coronavirus is rife in the country's prisons. 

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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