07/09/2018, 19.21
IRAN
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Dancing isn't a crime: protests against the arrest of a young Iranian woman

Maedeh Hojabri was arrested for “indecent” videos she posted on Instagram in which she dances without her hair covered. Forced to “confess” on TV, she said “It wasn’t for attracting attention”. Others were arrested on the same charge. Cyber-police announce more action against popular accounts. In 2014, six people were arrested for posting a video in which they are seen dancing on rooftops in Tehran.

Teheran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Dancing isn't crime is the hashtag used by Iranians who support Maedeh Hojabri (pictured), a teenager arrested for posting some videos on Instagram in which she dances at home, without her hair covered.

Her account, which has been suspended, was reported to have had more than 600,000 followers.

Hojabri is not only Iranian to have been arrested by the authorities for such behavior. Last Friday, she and other detainees, whose identity could not be confirmed, appeared on Iranian TV.

The latter showed a young woman, her face blurred, crying and shaking. “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.”

Many believe that the government will now block Instagram, one of the few Western applications still accessible in Iran. Facebook and Twitter are already censored in the Islamic Republic.

There are strict laws on women's clothing in public. Dancing with people of the opposite sex with who are not relatives is forbidden.

The head of Tehran’s cyber-police, Touraj Kazemi, said his forces were identifying and would take action against popular accounts on Instagram

The crackdown is not new in the Islamic republic. In 2014, a group of Pharrell Williams fans were arrested for filming themselves dancing to the song Happy on the rooftops of Tehran. they received suspended sentences of imprisonment and 91 lashes.

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