Iranians outraged over arrest of teenage girl for Instagram dancing clips

Iranians outraged over arrest of teenage girl for Instagram dancing clips

Iranians outraged over arrest of teenage girl for Instagram dancing clips

Iranian state TV aired a video in which she apologized for "breaking moral norms" but said any breach was not her intention. It remains unclear if her statement was forced. Her arrest has also led to an outcry of support from ordinary Iranians who have posted videos of themselves dancing online in solidarity.

Activists claim Maedeh Hojabri, whose popular Instagram account had nearly 600,000 followers, is among many others who have been arrested in the country.

Iranian media outlets reported that authorities were looking into banning more Instagram accounts or shutting down access to the site completely.

Many Iranians on social media have strongly criticised the arrest of Hojabri by the hard-line judiciary while expressing support for the young woman.

Three other women who, like Hojabri, built a following on Instagram with their dance videos, have been taken into custody, according to the Asr-Iran news website. Sharing her own dancing clip, @Marun_1 said:"usually I don't share pictures and videos but today is an important day". I did not want to encourage others to do the same.

The Iranian government has enforced strict rules involving dress codes and dancing in public. In 2012, Iran sacked the head of its cyber-police after the blogger Sattar Beheshti died in custody.

The judiciary's enforcement of Iran's conservative laws comes amid a growing economic crisis and continued political pressure from the worldwide community. According to BBC's video description, this was just months after a group of young Iranians were arrested for dancing to Pharrell William's Happy. Their sentence - one year in prison and 91 lashes - was later suspended.

The teenager, however, was detained by the Iranian police for those same videos. Iranian-American journalist Arash Sigarchi tweeted: "40 years ago, dance were taught in school in Iran but after the Islamic revolution 1979 it became a big crime!" Similarly, in August previous year, six people were arrested for taking Zumba classes at a public square in Tehran.

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