Friday, 20 July, 2018

Iranians Outraged Over Arrest of Teenager for Instagram Dancing Clips

Women Dance To Show Support To Iranian Teen Arrested Over Instagram Clips Iranian women are being arrested for dancing on Instagram
Deanna Wagner | 12 July, 2018, 14:27

Since her arrest, many people have come in her support, shared her videos and made similar videos to show solidarity with Hojabri.

The recent arrest of an Iranian teenager for posting dance videos on social media has sparked outrage among activists in the Middle Eastern nation. According to the New York Times, Hojabri said that she understood that dancing publicly is a crime and that her family was unaware that she was posting videos on Instagram. She says she was recently sentenced to twenty years in prison for the offense.

Hojabri and the others who were arrested then appeared on a TV program where they were forced to make the confession. The police even threatened to close such accounts on Instagram.

The 18-year-old was arrested after posting videos of herself dancing to music in her room without wearing the obligatory Islamic headscarf.

Instagram is one of the few Western social media sites not heavily blocked in Iran, and Hojabri posted about 300 photos and videos before her account was temporarily shut down. " I dance in a public park in Tehran to support Maedeh the 19-year-old girl who got arrested", wrote another supporter.

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Dancing is not completely illegal in Iran, but it is forbidden for women do it publicly. Her videos have also appeared on various Instagram accounts dedicated to her, although they have not been verified.

"It wasn't incitement, I didn't want to encourage anyone, I didn't have an objective", she said. "I did not work with a network", Hojabri said in tears. "I only do gymnastics", she continued. The government, which already filters the use of other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, is soon feared to follow suit with the world's leading image and video sharing platform. Others say the authorities can not ruin people's fun.

Blogger Hossein Ronaghi 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".

View a collection of supportive social media posts below, including the top Instagram post from Maedeh Hojabri. This is not the first incident when dancers in Iran have been jailed. "Let people be. Let's not infringe on their privacy, people's private lives belong to them", he told a crowd at a 2018 celebration of the country's Islamic revolution.

The police said the campaign was being pushed by Persian-language satellite TV networks based overseas, purportedly encouraging women participants to take their white headscarves off in protest of the country's strict Islamic modesty laws.