Iranian couple jailed for street dancing

Iranian couple jailed for street dancing
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On Iranian Paar, both social media influencers, have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms after a video surfaced of them dancing in a main square in the capital, Tehran.

In a video widely circulated on social media, Astiyazh Haghighi, 21, can be seen dancing without a headscarf with her fiancé, Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, in Azadi Square. The couple posted the video themselves.

Each was charged with “spreading corruption and vice” and “gathering and collusion with intent to disrupt national security” and sentenced to 10.5 years in prison, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

However, Mizan, a news agency linked to Iran’s judiciary, said each person was sentenced to five years in prison for “assembling and colluding with intent to disrupt national security.”

The two are accused of encouraging people to gather and urging them to riot in an Oct. 26 Instagram post, Mizan Online also said.

Judge Abolqasem Salavati presided over her case and imposed the sentences, along with a two-year ban on posting videos on social media and a two-year ban on leaving the country, HRANA said.

Security forces first searched the couple’s home in the early hours of Oct. 30, a source told CNN, took them for questioning and later took them to jail.

Haghighi was initially taken to Ward 209 of Evin Prison but was then transferred to Qarchak Women’s Prison, where she is currently being held, HRANA reports. Both Haghighi and her partner are being denied access to a lawyer, he added.

Haghighi and Ahmadi each have almost a million followers on Instagram and also separate YouTube channels with more than half a million followers in total.

This comes after the country was rocked by nationwide protests over the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a young woman accused of flouting the country’s mandatory hijab laws. Iran has cracked down by executing protesters accused of killing security forces, which critics say were the result of hasty sham trials.

Her lengthy prison sentences have been compared by critics to those of Sajjad Heydari, an Iranian who beheaded his wife last year. Heydari, who killed his 17-year-old wife in February 2022, was convicted to just eight years and two months in prison, according to the country’s semi-official Khabar Online website.

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