Iranian couple handed prison sentence for dancing in the streets


Two Iranian couples, both social media influencers, have been sentenced to years in prison after a video emerged of them dancing in a main square in the capital, Tehran.

In a video that has been widely shared on social media, Astiyazh Haghighi, 21, is seen dancing with her fiance Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, without a headband in Azadi Square. The couple uploaded the video themselves.

Each was charged with “spreading corruption” and “assembling and conspiring with the intent to disrupt national security” and was sentenced to ten and a half years in prison, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

However, Mizan, a news agency linked to Iran’s judiciary, said each man was sentenced to five years in prison for gathering and conspiring to disrupt national security.

Mizan Online said the two were accused of inciting people to gather and riot in an Instagram post on Oct. 26.

HRANA said Judge Abolqasem Salavati presided over their case and imposed a two-year ban on posting videos on social media and a two-year ban on leaving the country, along with the sentences.

A source told CNN that security forces first raided the couple’s home in the early morning hours of Oct. 30, taking them in for questioning and then handing them over to jail.

Haghighi was initially sent to Ward 209 of Evin Prison, but was transferred to Qarchak Women’s Prison, where she is currently being held, HRANA reported. It said both Haghighi and her companion were denied access to a lawyer.

Haghighi and Ahmadi each have nearly a million followers on Instagram and separate YouTube channels with more than half a million followers.

The move comes after nationwide protests over the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a young woman accused of violating the country’s mandatory hijab laws. Iran has cracked down on protesters with executions, accusing security forces of killing them, which critics say is the result of hasty mock trials.

Critics have compared their long prison terms to Sajjad Heydari, the Iranian man who beheaded his wife last year. Heydari, who killed his 17-year-old wife in February 2022, was sentenced to just eight years and two months in prison, the country’s semi-official Khabar Online website reported.


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