Sunday 23 September 2018
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2 months ago

Iran: Women Arrested for Dancing

Expand Women wait for a bus in central Tehran, Iran, August 24, 2015.  © 2015 Reuters (Beirut) – Iranian state television on July 9, 2018, broadcasted apologies by several women who were briefly detained in May for posting videos of themselves dancing on their popular Instagram accounts, Human Rights Watch said today. On the same day, Shaparak Shajarizadeh, who took her headscarf off in public in January to protest compulsory hijab laws, announced on her Instagram page that a court sentenced her to 20 years in prison for this act, although it suspended 18 years of the sentence, meaning she has to serve 2 years in prison. Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) television Channel One broadcasted a program called “Devious” on July 9 in which several women and men who appeared to have a large number of followers on Instagram said on camera that they regretted posting their content online. The video appeared to have been recorded when these people were in detention. They included Elnaz Ghasemi, who lives in Canada and was visiting Iran, and Maedeh Hojabri, a teenager, both of whom had been arrested in May by Iran’s cyberspace police and their accounts closed down for posting the videos of themselves dancing, and who had been released a few days later, Ghasemi reported. The program also featured police officers and “experts” talking about how social media platform enables certain abuses and crimes. “Equal parts abusive and embarrassing, dragging a teenager before the camera to apologize for dancing is a new low for the Iranian authorities,” said Sarah Leah Whiston, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Iran’s authorities should stop harassing all those arrested for exercising their right to free expression.” Iranian authorities should stop harassing and prosecuting women for exercising their free expression, including online, and repeal discriminatory laws like the mandatory d

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