Ten years in prison for Iranian couple after spreading video of dancing in the street | Abroad

The AFP news agency and the media report this as BBC and The Guardian.

Astiyazh Haghighi, 21, and her fiancé 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. This gives them a combined reach of about two million followers BBC. 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.

Although the couple did not link to the current resistance against the Iranian regime when they posted the video, the images quickly became a symbol of the resistance. And seen as a provocation by the incumbent regime.

Haghighi and Mohammad Ahmadi were therefore 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 two years. Both are also not allowed to leave the country.

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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.