Iranian couple handed prison sentence for dancing in the streets


An Iranian couple have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms after a video of them both dancing in a central square in the capital Tehran emerged on social media.

In a video that has gone viral on social media, 21-year-old Astiyaj Haghighi can be seen dancing with his 22-year-old fiance Amir Mohammad Ahmadi without a headscarf in Azadi Square. The video was published by the couple themselves.

According to the activist group HRANA, they were each charged with “spreading corruption and lawlessness” and “assembling and colluding to undermine national security” and sentenced to ten and a half years.

However, Iran’s judiciary-affiliated Mizan news agency reported that each man was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of “assembling and colluding to undermine national security.”

The two are accused of inciting people to gather and riot in a post on Instagram on October 26, Mizan Online also reported.

Judge Abolkasem Salawati presided over their case and handed down sentences including a ban on posting the videos on social media for two years and a ban on leaving the country for two years, HRANA reports.

Security forces first raided the couple’s home in the early hours of October 30, interrogated them and later took them to jail, CNN told CNN.

Hagighi was initially sent to Ward 209 of Evin Prison, but was later transferred to Karcak Women’s Prison, where she is currently being held, HRANA reports. Neither Haghighi nor his partner are being given access to a lawyer, he added.

Haghighi and Ahmadi each have close to a million followers on Instagram and separate YouTube channels with more than half a million followers combined.

This comes after nationwide protests erupted in the country over the death in prison of Mahsa Ami, a young woman accused of violating the country’s mandatory hijab laws. Iran has cracked down on protesters accused of killing security forces by executing them, which critics say is the result of rushed sham trials.

Their long sentences have been compared by critics to that of Iranian Sajjad Heydari, who beheaded his wife last year. Heydari, who killed his 17-year-old wife in February 2022, was sentenced to just eight years and two months in prison, the country’s semi-official Khabar Online website reported.


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