Iranian teen detained for Instagram dancing videos

Pauline Gross
July 11, 2018

Her videos appears on various Instagram accounts attributed to her, however none have been verified.

Forced "confessions" in politically motivated cases in Iran are often extracted under the threat of or actual torture and then broadcast by the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) to justify politically motivated prosecutions. According to the Associated Press, Iranian authorities are considering blocking access to Instagram, but no final decision has been made.

In the wake of Ms Hojabri's arrest, many Iranian women have been posting their own videos of themselves dancing in support of the teenager, using hashtags such as #dancetofreedom and #dancing_isn't_a_crime.

"It wasn't incitement, I didn't want to encourage anyone, I didn't have an objective", she said. The Washington Post reports the detainees have since been freed on bail. "It wasn't for attracting attention", she said, according to The Guardian.

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"I'm dancing so that they (the authorities) see and know that they can not take away our happiness and hope by arresting teenagers and (girls like) Maedeh", the BBC translated the tweet of one supporter.

This isn't the first time people have been arrested for dancing. Even though President Hassan Rouhani has repeatedly indicated that he may favor opening up Iran's restrictive official Internet, enforcing laws online is ultimately up to the judiciary, which is controlled by religious hard-liners.

In Iran, there is strict Internet censorship. Similarly, in August previous year, six people were arrested for taking Zumba classes at a public square in Tehran.

In 2014, six Iranians, three men and three unveiled women, received suspended sentences of one year imprisonment and 91 lashes for a video that showed them dancing on Tehran's rooftops to Pharrell William's song "Happy". They were later charged with seeking to "change lifestyles and promote lack of hijab".

Other reports by GizPress

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