PARIS — An Iranian court has handed jail sentences of over 10 years each to a young couple who danced in front of one of Tehran’s main landmarks in a video seen as a symbol of defiance against the regime, activists say.
Astiyazh Haghighi and her fiance Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, both in their early 20s, had been arrested in early November after a video went viral of them dancing romantically in front of the Azadi Tower in Tehran.
Haghighi did not wear a headscarf in defiance of the Islamic Republic’s strict rules for women, while women are also not allowed to dance in public in Iran, let alone with a man.
A revolutionary court in Tehran sentenced them each to 10 years and six months in prison, as well as bans on using the internet and leaving Iran, the US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) says today.
The couple, who already had a following in Tehran as popular Instagram bloggers, were convicted of “encouraging corruption and public prostitution” as well as “gathering with the intention of disrupting national security,” it adds.
Iranian bloggers and partners Astiaj Haghighi (21) and Amir-Mohammad Ahmadi (22) have been sentenced to 10.5 years in jail, each, and banned from leaving Iran or using social media for two years because of publishing a video of their dance at Tehran's Azadi (Liberty) Square. pic.twitter.com/pgSVZRe3p9
— Iran International English (@IranIntl_En) January 30, 2023
HRANA cites sources close to their families as saying they had been deprived of lawyers during the court proceedings while attempts to secure their release on bail have been rejected.
It says Haghighi is now in the notorious Qarchak prison for women outside Tehran, whose conditions are regularly condemned by activists.
Iranian authorities have clamped down severely on all forms of dissent since the death in September of Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested for allegedly violating the headscarf rules, sparked protests that have turned into a movement against the regime.