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Iranian model who wore noose dress at Cannes says she wanted to highlight "wrongful executions" in her country

How Iran International handles government opposition
Journalists at Iran International continue reporting despite government opposition 02:18

The Iranian model Mahlagha Jaberi said she wore a dress with a noose-like design on the red carpet at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on Friday because she wanted to call attention to "wrongful executions" in her home country. 

The 33-year-old said in an Instagram post that she wore the controversial dress to raise awareness about executions carried out by Iran's government. The back of Jaberi's dress – designed by fashion designer Jila Saber – also featured the text "Stop Executions," though security stopped her from displaying it, according to Jaberi. 

"The Old Oak" Red Carpet - The 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival
Mahlagha Jaberi attends the "The Old Oak" red carpet during the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 26, 2023 in Cannes, France. / Getty Images

"We wanted to make a fashion statement to observe the glamour of Cannes, but more importantly, to bring media attention to the wrongful executions of Iranian people," she wrote on Monday. "Unfortunately, political statements are not allowed at the film festival and the security stopped me from showing the back of my dress, but the "noose" meaning was well understood." 

Prior to her post, Jaberi received criticism for a video she uploaded over the weekend glamorizing the noose, which she dedicated to the "people of Iran" without much further context. 

"We tried to play a small role in fighting against the heinous crime of executing innocent people in Iran by sending out the message in Cannes Festival," Saber clarified on Instagram Monday. "Every small step counts towards eliminating injustice."

Last week, Amnesty International reported eight individuals were sentenced to death and dozens of others remain at risk of being sentenced in connection with nationwide anti-government protests over Mahsa Amini's death last year. The human rights organization alleged that authorities violated the individuals' fair trial rights and subjected many of them to torture and inhumane treatment, "including floggings, electric shocks, death threats and sexual violence."

Earlier this month, the United Nations human rights chief Volker Türk said that Iran was "one of the world's highest executors," with at least 209 people having been executed since the beginning of 2023. Many were executed for "drug-related charges," according to Türk. 

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