'Zombie Angelina Jolie' on ventilator in Iran
An Angelina Jolie "zombie" lookalike in Iran is on a ventilator after contracting coronavirus while in jail for her social media posts.
Sahar Tabar, 22, gained an Instagram following after posting dozens of photos edited to make her resemble the Hollywood A-lister, but last year was arrested on charges including blasphemy and encouraging youths to corruption, The Sun reported.
Eerie pictures from her account show her wearing white and grey make-up and have been photoshopped to give her face and arms a gaunt and zombie-like appearance.
Last month, Iran released around 85,000 prisoners as part of an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Lawyers for Tabar, whose real name is Fatemeh Khishvand, have argued that she should also be released, but the US-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said that a request for bail was denied by a judge.
Tabar has now contracted the coronavirus in prison, and is thought to be on a ventilator.
Speaking on Wednesday, human rights lawyer Payam Derafshan said: "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."
Iran has faced increasing scrutiny over its handling of the crisis, and yesterday its own parliament acknowledged that the actual death toll is likely to be twice as high as the official count, currently 4,869.
Derafshan added that authorities have even tried to deny that Tabar has caught the coronavirus.
"It makes no sense to deny this," he said. "The prison director should acknowledge the infection and admit she has been hospitalised."
He went on to say that all prisoners who were detained on non-violent charges should also be let out of jail as a response to the pandemic.
'WHAT DOES SHE HAVE TO CONFESS TO?'
Tabar was arrested in October by Iran's Guidance Patrol, a part of law enforcement in the country tasked with arrested people, mostly women, deemed not to be following strict conservative dress codes.
As well as blasphemy and the corruption of youth, the charges against her included the incitement of violence and gaining income through inappropriate means.
Following her arrest, she was interviewed on state television and expressed regret over the posts, though many felt she had been coerced into the appearance.
"My mother was telling me to stop, but I didn't listen," she said.
"Sometimes the words of a stranger or a friend can be more important than those of a parent."
One Twitter user wrote: "What does Sahar Tabar have to confess to?
"Are there any principled people in parliament to put an end to the broadcasting of dirty and immoral confessions in television?"
The coronavirus has infected over 2.1 million people and killed almost 150,000 since breaking out in December.
* This story first appeared in The Sun and is reproduced here with permission.
Originally published as 'Zombie Jolie' on ventilator in Iran