Couple jailed for 10 years over viral video showing them dancing at Tehran landmark

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Sky News

2nd February 2023 – (Tehran) A young couple in Iran have been jailed for more than 10 years each after a video on social media showed them dancing at one of Tehran’s main landmarks.

Astiaj Haghighi and her fiancé Amir Mohammad Ahmadi were also banned from social activities on the internet and from leaving the country for two years.

The Instagram users, both aged in their 20s, were arrested on 1st November after the video of them dancing at the Azadi Tower went viral.

The news agency of Human Rights Activists (HRANA) said they were both jailed for 10 years and six months for “promotion of impurity and indecency, assembly and collusion against national security, and propaganda against the regime”.

In defiance of the country’s strict rules, Ms Haghighi was not wearing a headscarf in the video while women are forbidden from dancing in public.

HRANA said a source had revealed the couple had been denied a lawyer during the proceedings at a revolutionary court in Tehran.

Ms Haghighi is also said to have been relocated to Qarchak Prison, in Varamin, where the conditions come under regular criticism by campaigners.

The video was seen as being part of the movement demanding more freedom in Iran.

Iran has taken an even harder line than normal with any forms of dissent since widespread protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in September.

The 22-year-old was arrested for allegedly breaking the country’s strict Islamic dress code.

The country’s morality police unit, which was reportedly later closed down, detained Ms Amini for allegedly not covering her hair properly with a headscarf – before she later died in police custody.

Activists posted pictures without wearing their headscarves as anti-government demonstrations spread across the nation and gained support abroad.

The United Nations said thousands of people were arrested in Iran during the demonstrations.