World

Iranians outraged over arrest of teenager for Instagram dancing clips

Iranians outraged over arrest of teenager for Instagram dancing clips

In 2014, six Iranians, three men and three unveiled women, received suspended sentences of one year imprisonment and 91 lashes for a video that showed them dancing on Tehran's rooftops to Pharrell William's song "Happy".

Maedeh Hojabri was arrested by Iranian police after she posted a video of herself dancing. She was among the many Instagram users arrested by authorities for posting videos on the social media platform in recent weeks.

Hojabri has posted over 300 pictures and videos on Instagram and has over 44000 followers.

Hojabri's arrest, however, has prompted outrage among other social media users.

Hojabri and others facing similar accusations previously appeared on Iranian state TV in a video in which the young gymnast - potentially speaking under duress - acknowledged producing the videos. I did not want to encourage others to do the same.

"It wasn't for attracting attention", the woman said in the broadcast, visibly shaken and crying. In several videos, she chose to appear without wearing the obligatory headscarf.




Teenager Maedah Hojbari, who has tens of thousands of followers on Instagram, regularly posts videos and images of herself without a headscarf, which is a mandatory piece of clothing for women in Iran when going into public spaces.

"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 attractive, for spreading indecency, and instead pedophiles are free", a blogger tells the Guardian.

Maedeh Hojabri gained a large social media following for her dancing videos. "I only do gymnastics".

Many believe that the government will now block Instagram, one of the few Western applications still accessible in Iran. But more importantly, she is a courageous great warrior against the barbaric regime who took a nation in hostage.

This is not the first time women have become victims of Iran's strict rules. Earlier this year, an official in the city of Mashhad was arrested after footage emerged showing a crowd of men and women dancing at a mall in the city, while six people were arrested for Zumba dancing in August.


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