Iran confirms prison sentence for couple filmed dancing in Tehran

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Iran has sentenced a young couple to five years in prison each for backing anti-regime protests, the judiciary’s Mizan news agency said on Wednesday, a day after a rights group said they had received a longer sentence for dancing in public.

Astiyazh Haghighi and her fiance Amir-Mohammad Ahmadi, both in their early 20s, were charged with “collusion against national security” for “encouraging” protests on Instagram, where they have a large following, Mizan said.

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On Tuesday, the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) said the couple was arrested in November after they posted a video of themselves dancing near Tehran’s Azadi Square, where Haghighi can be seen dancing without a hijab, breaching the dress code for women in Iran.

HRANA reported that the two had each been sentenced to 10 and a half years of imprisonment on charges of “spreading corruption and vice,” “assembly and collusion with the intention of disrupting national security,” and engaging in anti-regime propaganda.

“By investigating their case... it is clear that (opposition) forces have falsely reported the charges by claiming each were sentenced to 10 years,” said Mizan.

This 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.

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