An Iranian court has sentenced a young couple to more than ten years in prison for dancing near one of Tehran’s main monuments in a video seen as a sign of protest against the regime, human rights activists said on Tuesday.
Astiaj Haqiqi and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, were arrested in November after a video of them dancing in front of Azadi Tower in the Iranian capital went viral on social media.
The woman was not wearing an Islamic headscarf, thus violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women who are not allowed to dance with men in public in Iran.
Astiyaz Haqiqi, 21, and Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, were sentenced to 10 years and 6 months in prison for the crime of dancing. @AlinejadMasih #MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/iwtzEOsNdA
– Important (@Limportant_fr) January 30, 2023
A revolutionary court in Tehran sentenced them to 11-and-a-half years in prison, as well as banning them from using the Internet and leaving Iran, the non-governmental organization (NGO) Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported. In America.
The pair, popular on social network Instagram, were accused of “promoting corruption and public prostitution” and “with the intention of undermining national security”, the NGO added.
Citing sources close to the respective families, HRANA indicated that they had lost lawyers during the court proceedings and attempts to get them released on bail had been rejected.
The NGO explained that Astiyaz Haqiqi is in the notorious Karchak Women’s Prison and her imprisonment has been regularly condemned by human rights activists.
Iranian authorities have cracked down on any form of dissent since the death of 22-year-old Iranian Kurd Mahza Amini on September 16 last year at the hands of so-called morality police.
Although she was wearing a ‘hijab’ (Islamic veil), which allowed part of her hair to be seen, she was severely beaten on the street in Tehran and arrested on September 13, and taken to hospital in a coma. Dies three days later, sparking a wave of protests against the regime.
According to the United Nations, at least 14,000 people have been detained, including celebrities, journalists, lawyers and ordinary citizens.
The young couple’s video has been hailed as a symbol of the freedom the protest movement demands.
One of the major tourist attractions in the Iranian capital, the grand and futuristic Azadi (“Freedom”) Tower is an important seat of power.
It was opened in the early 1970s during the reign of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1941–1979), and was later known as the Shayat (“In Memory of the Shah”) Tower. It was renamed in 1979 when the Islamic Republic was established in the country.