Sahar Tabar COVID-19: Fatemeh Khishvand Iranian Angelina Jolie zombie Instagram star denied jail release and now on ventilator as she fights for her life.
Jailed Iranian Instagram star — known for her transformation into a ‘zombie Angelina Jolie’— is currently on a ventilator after contracting the coronavirus in custody, according to a human rights organization.
Lawyers for Fatemeh Khishvand, going by Sahar Tabar on Instagram had asked for her to be released amid the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, but a judge refused to grant bail, according to the US-based Center for Human Rights in Iran.
‘We find it unacceptable that this young woman has now caught the coronavirus in these circumstances while her detention order has been extended during all this time in jail,’ human rights lawyer Payam Derafshan told the organization on Wednesday.
Khishvand, 22, was arrested in October amid a nationwide crackdown on Instagram celebrities. She faces a slew of charges including blasphemy, inciting violence and encouraging the corruption of young people, for expressing herself on her widely-followed Instagram account.
Iran authorities target personalities on Instagram:
The zombie Angelina Jolie look-alike faces years in prison for engaging in peaceful freedom of expression on her personal Instagram account and has been charged with ‘corruption on earth,’ ‘incitement to corruption by encouraging youth to engage in lunacy,’ ‘insulting the sacred’ and ‘acquiring illicit income’ according to Center for Human Rights in Iran.
Khishvand rose to fame in 2017 after claiming that she’d had ’50 surgeries’ to look like her favorite Hollywood star — and posting selfies showing her hollow cheeks, inflated lips and cartoonish upturned nose.
Judge Mohammad Moghiseh repeatedly denied to release her on bail as the coronavirus spread across the country — and is now nowhere to be found, Khishvand’s lawyer said.
Jail officials in Tehran denied that the Instagram star had caught the illness — a claim her lawyer repudiated.
‘It seems like it has become a habit for the authorities to deny everything,’ Derafshan told CHRI.
‘It makes no sense to deny this. The prison director should acknowledge the infection and admit she has been hospitalized.’
The attorney called on authorities to release Khishvand and other inmates detained on non-violent charges amid the outbreak.
‘Many women in Shahr-e Rey Prison have contacted my colleague and me about the terrible situation inside the prison and the fear that exists among the inmates [due to the coronavirus],’ he said.
‘We want the authorities to issue a general order to allow these prisoners to be temporarily released. In the absence of judges who are sick or not coming to work, this is the only solution.’
There have been at least 77,995 reported cases of the virus in Iran, with 4,869 deaths.