Young Iranian couple sentenced to 10 years in prison for a dance considered an act of 'defiance'

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Amir Ahmadi and his partner Astiyazh Haghighi.
Amir Ahmadi and his partner Astiyazh Haghighi.
Screenshot via Instagram/Astiyazh Haghighi|Zhatis
  • Iranian couple Astiyazh Haghighi and Amir Mohammad Ahmadi are reportedly serving a 10-year prison sentence.
  • They were arrested for dancing at a historic square considered one of the sites of anti-government protests in Iran. 
  • Astiyazh was not wearing a headscarf (hijab) as per the law in the country.  

Iranian couple Astiyazh Haghighi and Amir Mohammad Ahmadi have been jailed for posting a video of themselves dancing in a historic square considered one of the sites of anti-government protests in Iran. 

Vice World shared an Instagram video of Astiyazh, 21, and Amir, 22, showing the couple happy to be around each other as they dance.

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However, according to the law in Iran, this was a criminal offence. They have each been sentenced to 10 and a half years for posting this video. The Israel Times reported that Astiyazh did not wear a headscarf (hijab) – in defiance of the Islamic republic's strict rules for women – while women are not allowed to dance in public in Iran, let alone with a man.

According to Vice World, the location where the dance video was filmed, which translates as "Freedom Square," is a historical epicentre of protests in Iran, which pro-government Iranians also use to commemorate the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

News outlet Iran Wire shared that the young couple was charged with "encouraging corruption, assembly and collusion to disrupt national security and spread propaganda" against the Islamic Republic on 29 January. "They were denied access to a lawyer, and their bail request was also refused," Vice World reported.

Iran Wire reports that they were also banned from carrying out online activities and from leaving Iran for two years after completing their prison sentences.

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The two are content creators on Instagram and they share other content where they are dancing or re-enacting. Other social media users have stood in solidarity since they were jailed in November. 

Sources: Vice World, Iran Wire, Israel Times

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