that Iranian A couple, both social media influencers, have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms after a video emerged of them dancing in a main square in the capital, Tehran.
In a video clip that went viral on social media, Istiyazah Haqiqi, 21, was seen dancing without a headscarf with her fiancé, Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, in Azadi Square. The couple posted the video themselves.
They were each charged with “spreading corruption and vice,” and “assembly and collusion with the intent to disturb national security,” and were sentenced to ten and a half years in prison, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).
However, the Mizan news agency affiliated with the Iranian judiciary said that each individual was sentenced to 5 years in prison on charges of “assembly and collusion with the intent of violating national security.”
Mizan Online said the two are accused of encouraging people to gather and calling them to riot in an Instagram post on October 26.
Judge Abu al-Qasim Salafati presided over their case and implemented the sentences, along with a two-year ban on posting videos on social media, and a two-year ban on leaving the country, according to HRANA.
Security forces first raided the couple’s home in the early morning hours of October 30, a source told CNN, and took them in for questioning and later transferred them to jail.
Haqiqi was initially sent to Ward 209 in Evin Prison, but was then transferred to Qarchak Women’s Prison where she is currently being held, HRANA reports. She added that Haghi and her partner are not allowed to contact a lawyer.
Haghi and Ahmadi each have close to a million followers on Instagram and also have separate YouTube channels totaling over half a million followers.
This comes after nationwide protests erupted over the death of Mohsa Amini, a young woman accused of violating the country’s compulsory veiling laws. Iran has waged a crackdown by executing protesters accused of killing security forces, which critics say is the result of hasty show trials.
Critics likened the lengthy sentences to Sajjad Heydari, an Iranian man notorious for beheading his wife last year. Heydari, who killed his wife of 17 years in February 2022, sentenced to just eight years and two months in prison, according to the country’s semi-official Khabar Online.