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Iran sentences two young men to 10 and a half years in prison for dancing in a video in support of the protests


The bloggers, aged 22 and 21, were convicted by the Iranian regime for "fomenting corruption, [illegal] assembly and collusion with the intent to disturb national security and spread propaganda," according to exile media.

By Aina J. Khan -

NBC News

A young couple who posted a video of themselves dancing romantically through the streets of Tehran have been sentenced to several years in prison, according to human rights activists and Iranian authorities.  

Instagram influencers


Haghighi, 21, and her fiance, Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, were jailed amid the regime's crackdown in an attempt to quell anti-government protests that have swept the country.


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The couple, very popular on social networks, with almost two million followers, have regularly posted videos together.

In a video posted to their Instagram accounts in November, which has since been deleted but is widely circulated on social media, the bloggers dance at night near Tehran's iconic Azadi (Freedom) tower, which marks the western entrance to the city. iranian capital.

The couple twirls and dances as they embrace in front of the glittering monument, with a glitter filter transposed onto video.

Although dancing is not illegal under Iran's penal code, women who dance in public - especially with men - are.

Haghighi appeared in the video without a headscarf, a garment that has become a focal point of the protests.

The couple did not link their video to riots that broke out across the Islamic Republic after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died in a hospital after being detained by morality police, who accused her of breaking the strict code country dress.

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But news of the couple's prison sentences was first reported on Sunday by a group of activists, who claimed they were violently detained by security forces on November 1 “after they posted a video on social media in the one that appeared dancing in a city square”.

Haghighi and Ahmadi were sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison each, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency, or HRANA, the self-described communications arm of Human Rights Activists in Iran. as an "apolitical, non-governmental organization made up of human rights defenders in Iran."

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According to HRANA, they were also banned from using social media and leaving the country for two years, and denied access to a lawyer during the court process.

The last publication on their Instagram accounts dates from September 22.

Iran's Mizan news agency, which reports to the judiciary, reported Wednesday that Haghighi and Ahmadi were detained by authorities on November 1 and later sentenced by a judge to five years in prison each for "conspiring and demonstrating against the security of the country”.

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“Their aim was to encourage people to protest and overthrow the regime,” the report said.

“They used their platform to publicize protests, including the call for the October 26 protests.

Despite being informed by security officers of their disruptive actions, they persisted and were arrested on November 1."

NBC News, sister network to Noticias Telemundo, has not been able to independently verify any details of the case, and it is unclear what may be behind the discrepancy between the activist group and Mizan.

A boy carries an Iranian flag in front of the tower of the Azadi (Freedom) monument at a rally to celebrate the 41st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, February 11, 2020. Vahid Salemi / AP

The couple's story spread quickly to supporters of the protests on social media.

“For the crime of dancing, these two young Iranians have been sentenced,” Iranian activist and journalist Masih Alinejad tweeted on Monday.

"They don't deserve such brutality," she added, sharing the video of the couple dancing. 

Tara Sepehri Far, senior Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch, said by email: "This arbitrary and totally unfair conviction for posting a video clearly shows that the authorities are using fabricated charges through the unfair judicial system to suppress not only the freedoms but also the acts of peaceful resistance and mobilization that the brave protesters have been carrying out in recent months".

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The protests that swept Iran after Amini's death became perhaps the biggest challenge to the theocratic regime since its inauguration in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

After months of violently suppressing protests, the Iranian government has begun publicly hanging people, a response that has sparked outrage from human rights activists and Western officials.

At least 527 people have been killed - 71 of them children - four protesters have been executed and nearly 20,000 have been detained, according to human rights activists in Iran.

The Iranian Interior Ministry said in December that the death toll stood at 200, including security forces who were killed.

In an Instagram post uploaded on September 20, Haghighi wrote about her experience being detained by the morality police on several occasions for her “inappropriate” clothing and the fear it had instilled in her.

“They took me inside the van,” recalls Haghighi in his Instagram post.

“The fear that had given me never left me.

"You often curse me, asking why I don't speak," Haghighi continued, addressing his followers.

“I want to tell you that I can't, not because I don't want to.

It is because my mother has no one but me, and I am the head of the family.

I am afraid of my mother's tears."

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-02-02

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