Iranian teen arrested for dancing videos

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 12, 2018

Crying, the distraught teenager explains that she posted videos of herself dancing on her Instagram account for her followers and was not directed by anyone.

After their arrest, Iranian state TV had shown a similar video in which the group confessed to voluntarily filming the "Happy" dance video.

Hojabri and others facing similar accusations previously appeared on Iranian state TV in a video in which the young gymnast - potentially speaking under duress - acknowledged producing the videos.

In a video released by the Iranian State TV on Friday, the teen is shown confessing to breaking "moral norms." .

News coverage of Hojabri's arrest has, ironically, spread the reach of her videos far beyond her Instagram account. Their sentence - one year in prison and 91 lashes - was later suspended.

The teenager, Maedeh Hojabri, was arrested after she posted hundreds of videos on Instagram, in which she danced to Persian pop songs.

Iranian law prohibits public dancing even as the use of headscarf in public is mandatory for women. I did not want to encourage others to do the same ... I didn't work with a team, I received no training. Sharing her own dancing clip, @Marun_1 said:"usually I don't share pictures and videos but today is an important day". Others say the authorities can not ruin people's fun.

Iranian media outlets reported that authorities were looking into banning more Instagram accounts or shutting down access to the site completely.

"You will be laughed at if you tell people anywhere in the world that 17 and 18-year-old girls are arrested for their dance, happiness, and beauty on charges of spreading indecency, while child rapists and others are free", Iranian blogger and political dissident Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki wrote. Also, several hashtags like #dancing_isn't_a_crime emerged on Twitter where social media users shared videos and messages supporting the young dancer.

The secretary of the influential Guardian Council, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, has relayed Khamenei's stand in the past, having reportedly said in a joint session of the Assembly of Experts on 25 January that "cyberspace is a curse threatening our lives".

This is not the first time women have become victims of Iran's strict rules.

Hojabri, who reportedly has often spoken about gymnastics and parkour in her videos, was not wearing a hijab in the videos that got her into trouble, which is required by law for women in the authoritarian country.

Social services such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are considered a problem for the Islamic establishment in Iran, and the judiciary has demanded that all social networks be blocked.

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