Iranian Teen Girl Arrested for Dancing in Instagram Video
Maedeh Hojabri is the latest young woman to be taken into custody for app use.
Instagram influencers may be akin to celebrities in the US, but in Iran they are increasingly treated like criminals.
A teen girl named Maedeh Hojabri was among a group of popular Instagram users recently arrested in the Islamic country for posting video content of herself dancing in her bedroom without a head scarf, the Guardian reports.
"If you tell people anywhere in the world that 17- and 18-year-old girls are arrested for their dance, happiness, and beauty on charges of spreading indecency, while child rapists and others are free, they will laugh! Because for them, it's unbelievable!" wrote blogger Hossein Ronaghi in reaction to the news, the BBC reported.Other women throughout Iran have expressed their objection to the arrests by sharing videos of themselves dancing on social media platforms, including Twitter.
I dance in a public park in Tehran to support Maedeh the 19 year old girl who got arrested for dancing.— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) July 7, 2018
در پارک هنرمندان بدونحجاب اجباری رقصیدم ولی نوازنده نگران اینکه بساطش جمع بشه با عذرخواهی آهنگ رو قطع کرد.
برای حمایت از #مائده_هژبری بیا #برقص_تا_برقصیمpic.twitter.com/8JtGU4QOzI
One Twitter user wrote: "I'm dancing so that they [the authorities] see and know that they cannot take away our happiness and hope by arresting teenagers and (girls like) Maedeh."
But this is not the first time Iran has cracked down on fancy footwork.
In 2014, six young Iranians who shared an online video of themselves dancing to Pharrell Williams' hit song “Happy” in Tehran were given suspended sentences of up to one year in prison and 91 lashes.
Following Hojabri’s arrest, she appeared on State TV with “her face blurred, crying and shaking while describing her motivation for producing the videos,” the Guardian reported.
“It wasn’t for attracting attention,” she said. “I had some followers and these videos were for them. I did not have any intention to encourage others doing the same … I didn’t work with a team, I received no training. I only do gymnastics.”