Iran has sentenced a young couple to 21 years in prison after they posted a video of themselves dancing near Tehran’s Azadi Square, a human rights group reported on Tuesday.
Astiyazh Haghighi and her fiance Amir-Mohammad Ahmadi, both in their early 20s, were charged with “spreading corruption and vice,” “assembly and collusion with the intention of disrupting national security,” and engaging in anti-regime propaganda, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).
The couple, who were arrested in their home on November 1 after publishing the video, have each been sentenced to 10 years and six months of imprisonment, a two-year ban on using the internet, and a two-years ban on leaving the country, according to HRANA.
Iran: A 21-y-o couple have been sentenced to 10 years in jail each for dancing at the foot of Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) Tower, sources close to them tell @nimnia11. Regime is handing out heavy sentences to anyone defying its strict rules. #آستیاژ_حقیقی #امیرمحمد_احمدی #مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/F0ahwzJhA1— Khosro Kalbasi Isfahani (@KhosroKalbasi) January 30, 2023
In the video, Haghighi can be seen dancing without a hijab, which goes against the dress code for women in the Islamic Republic.
The verdict was issued by Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, headed by Abolqasem Salavati, a notorious judge infamous for imposing severe punishments on individuals perceived as a threat to the Islamic Republic.
The couple were denied legal representation during the proceedings, HRANA said, citing a source close to Haghighi’s family.
Iranian authorities have not commented on the case.
The reported ruling came amid a crackdown by authorities against months of anti-regime protests that started after the death in police custody of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on September 16.
Amini, 22, died shortly after her arrest by Tehran’s morality police for allegedly not complying with the regime’s strict hijab rules.
The protests, which quickly escalated into calls for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic, have been met with a violent crackdown from authorities, resulting in the deaths of hundreds and the arrest of thousands, according to human rights groups.