Iranian authorities have reportedly sentenced a couple caught dancing in the street to 10 years in prison.
Astiazh Haqiqi, 21, and her fiance Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, shared a video of them dancing together in public in front of Azadi Tower in Tehran – also known as the “Freedom Tower”.
The court found them guilty of “encouraging corruption and public prostitution“, as well as “conspiracy against national security and propaganda against the establishment”, according to the BBC.
Police also searched Hakica’s family home before her arrest.
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It is not yet clear whether the 10-year sentence applies to each of them, or whether it is a combined punishment. They were also handed a two-year social media ban and must leave the country, The Guardian reports.
The American Human Rights News Agency, citing sources close to the family, said the couple did not have lawyers during the trial and could not post bail.
The pair are just two of an estimated 14,000 people arrested in the past few months as the Iranian government continues its crackdown on anyone with relation to the protests in connection with the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while in the custody of the Iranian moral police.
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Protests have since spread to more than 140 cities and towns across the country in what has become one of the biggest challenges to Iran’s theocracy since the 1979 revolution. According to human rights groups, security forces used live ammunition, birdshot, tear gas and batons to disperse the protesters.
Celebrities, journalists and professional athletes are among those imprisoned for the protests.
Another couple posted a video that went viral during the protests kissing in the streets – a violation of the country’s hijab (headscarf) law, which also prompted the morality police to arrest Amini, and laws against public affection for unmarried couples in Iran.
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The The Iranian government executed four people while protests continue across the country, two were executed in the first weeks of the new year, accused of killing a member of a volunteer unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
“The revolution in Iran has already happened,” Lisa Daftari, a Middle East expert and editor-in-chief of The Foreign Desk, told Fox News Digital. “When a couple feels comfortable enough to openly dance with the opposite sex, unmarried, without a headscarf, and put that product of their joy and bravery online, it shows how far this movement has come.”
“The fact that the regime is trying to stop any celebration of life or any symbol of freedom shows not only how repressive the mullahs have been for 44 years, but also how afraid they are that the current movement will weaken their resolve,” he added. Offices. . “They make an example of anyone who wants to show their bravery by kissing, dancing, singing or rapping. The regime is doing everything in its power to silence dissidents and restore the narrative.”
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Activists say at least 16 people have been sentenced to death in closed hearings on charges related to the protests. Death sentences in Iran are usually carried out by hanging.
At least 517 protesters were killed and more than 19,200 people were arrested, according to Human rights defenders in Iran, a group that closely followed the unrest. The Iranian authorities did not give an official count of those killed and detained.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.