An Iranian court has sentenced a young couple to more than 10 years in prison for dancing at one of Tehran’s main landmarks and distributing a video of it. This is reported by the news agency ‘AFP’ and media such as ‘BBC’ and ‘The Guardian’. The couple’s video previously went viral as a symbol of resistance to the Iranian regime.

    Astiyazh Haghighi, 21, and her fiancĂ© Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, were arrested at their home in November after a video emerged online of them dancing romantically in front of Tehran’s Azadi Tower (the “Freedom Tower”). They had distributed the video themselves via their Instagram accounts, with which they have a combined reach of about two million followers, the ‘BBC’ reports.


    The images show how a young woman does not wear a headscarf. She also dances in public, and then also with a man. She thus defied the strict rules of the Islamic Republic regarding women.

    Seen as provocation

    Although the couple did not link itself to the current resistance against the Iranian regime when posting the video, the images quickly became a symbol of the resistance. And also seen as a provocation by the incumbent regime. Haghighi and Mohammad Ahmadi were subsequently found guilty of “encouraging corruption and public prostitution”, as well as “gatherings with intent to disrupt national security”. They were sentenced to 10.5 years in prison and banned from using social media for 2 years. They are also not allowed to leave the country.

    According to human rights news agency HRANA, sources close to the family report that the young couple did not have a lawyer during the trial. Attempts to get them released on bail were rejected.

    Mass demonstrations

    Mass demonstrations have been taking place in Iran since mid-September for more freedom and against the Islamic regime in Tehran. The wave of protests is the largest in years for Iran and started after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. She died in detention after she was arrested by the moral police for allegedly wearing her headscarf too loosely.

    Thousands of people have been arrested during the protests in Iran. The United Nations speaks of 14,000 arrests, including celebrities, journalists, lawyers and ordinary citizens. Several have already been sentenced to death. According to the organization Iran Human Rights Watch, hundreds of demonstrators have been killed by the Iranian security services.

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