Iranian authorities reportedly handed down a 10-year jail sentence to a couple who were recorded dancing in the street.
Astiyazh Haqiqi, 21, and her fiance Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, posted a video of themselves dancing together in public in front of the Azadi Tower in Tehran – also known as the “Freedom Tower.”
The court convicted them on charges of “encouraging corruption and public prostitution,” as well as “colluding against national security and propaganda against the establishment,” the BBC reported.
Police also raided Haqiqi’s family home before her arrest.
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It’s unclear whether the 10-year sentence applies to each of them or is a combined sentence. They were also handed a two-year social media ban and must leave the country, The Guardian reported.
The U.S.-based Human Rights Activists News Agency cited sources close to the family in reporting that the couple did not have lawyers during the court proceedings and couldn’t put up bail.
The couple is just two of some 14,000 people arrested over the past few months as the Iranian government continues to crack down on anyone deemed to have a connection to protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.
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The protests have since spread to over 140 cities and towns across the country in protests that mark one of the biggest challenges to Iran’s theocracy since the 1979 revolution. Security forces have used live ammunition, bird shot, tear gas and batons to disperse protesters, according to rights groups.
Celebrities, journalists and professional athletes are among those imprisoned due to the protests.
Another couple posted a video that went viral during the protests for kissing in the streets – defying the country’s hijab (headscarf) law, which had also prompted morality police to arrest Amini, and laws against public affection for unmarried couples in Iran.
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The Iranian government has executed four people as the protests continue nationwide, with two executed in the first weeks of the New Year who were accused of killing a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s volunteer force.
“The revolution in Iran has already taken place,” 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 dance openly with the opposite gender, unmarried, without her headscarf and to post that product of their joy and bravery online demonstrates how far this movement has come already.”
“The fact that the regime tries to stop any celebration of life or any symbolism of freedom is indicative of not only how repressive the mullahs have been for 44 years but also how apprehensive they are that this current movement will weaken their resolve,” Daftari added. “They are making examples out of anyone willing to show their bravery by kissing, dancing, singing or rapping. The regime is doing anything in its power to silence dissidents and to take back the narrative.”
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Activists say at least 16 people have been sentenced to death in closed-door hearings over charges linked to the protests. Death sentences in Iran are typically carried out by hanging.
At least 517 protesters have been killed and over 19,200 people have been arrested, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has closely monitored the unrest. Iranian authorities have not provided an official count of those killed or detained.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.