A young Iranian couple filmed dancing in front of Tehran's Freedom Tower have each been sentenced to more than 10 years in jail. A video shows Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, picking up and twirling Astiazh Haqiqi, 21, who is not wearing a headscarf, allowing her long hair to flow behind her. The engaged couple shared the video with their combined 2 million followers on Instagram, per the BBC. They were arrested and convicted of "promoting corruption and prostitution, colluding against national security, and propaganda against the establishment," according to the outlet.
It is a crime for a woman to go without a headscarf in Iran (the country has been roiled by protests since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, arrested for violating the hijab law, died in police custody in September). Many Iranian women have removed their hijabs as an act of defiance amid the protests, which have resulted in some 14,000 arrests and hundreds of deaths. But it is also a crime for a woman to dance in public in Iran, with or without a man, per AFP. The family home of Haqiqi, a fashion designer, was raided before the couple's arrests in November. The US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency alleged Tuesday that the couple were denied bail and deprived of lawyers during court proceedings.
They were each given combined sentences of 10.5 years in prison. BBC correspondent Jiyar Gol draws a stark contrast, noting an Iranian man convicted of beheading his wife was recently sentenced to only seven years in prison. However, if the couple's verdicts are upheld, they will serve only the longest of the individual sentencing terms, currently unknown, the BBC reports. Haqiqi and Ahmadi were also barred from using social media and from leaving the country for two years. Haqiqi is now said to reside in the Qarchak women's prison outside Tehran, which human rights activists have highlighted for its inhumane conditions. (Read more Iran stories.)