Monday, 22 July, 2019

Iranian teen detained for Instagram dancing videos

Maedeh Hojabri has posted around 300 videos on her Instagram account Maedeh Hojabri has posted around 300 videos on her Instagram account
Deanna Wagner | 09 July, 2018, 15:54

State TV broadcast a video on Friday in which Maedeh Hojabri, 18-year-old gymnast, acknowledged breaking moral norms while insisting that was not her intention, and that she was only trying to gain more followers.

Hojabri recorded and posted around 300 videos on Instagram of herself dancing in what Iran would deem an "immoral" manner.

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

In Iran, women are required to cover their hair while out in public, and dancing with the opposite sex is prohibited unless it is in front of immediate family members, according to the BBC.

"It wasn't for attracting attention", she said, according to the Guardian's translation. "I only do gymnastics".

Several people on social media have spoken up in support of Hojabri, and against the overall situation in Iran. Authorities are reportedly considering blocking access to the site.

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A final Iranian Twitter user called out the gravity of the incident.

Iranian blogger and freedom of speech activist Hossein Ronaghi re-posted one of Ms Hojabri's videos on Twitter.

Hossein Ronaghi, a blogger, said: "People would laugh at you if you tell anyone in the world that [in Iran] they arrest 17-year-olds and 18-year-olds for dancing, being happy and being lovely, for spreading indecency, and instead paedophiles are free". "Because for them, it's unbelievable!"

Earlier this year, an official was arrested after footage emerged showing men and women dancing at a mall in the city, while six people were arrested for Zumba dancing in August last year.

In 2014, a group of Pharrell Williams fans arrested for filming themselves dancing to the song Happy on the rooftops of Tehran received suspended sentences of imprisonment and lashes.