Woman arrested in Iran for posting Instagram videos of herself dancing

  • 09/07/2018
The woman is among a number of other Instagram users arrested in Iran.
The woman is among a number of other Instagram users arrested in Iran. Photo credit: Twitter / Negar Mortazavi

A young woman is among a number of Instagram users who have been arrested in Iran over their posts.

Maedeh Hojabri, a woman who looks to be in her late teenage years, has been arrested for posting video clips to the social media platform of her dancing, according to activists. 

The woman is the only detainee to have been named, the Guardian reports. Her Instagram account reportedly had over 600,000 followers before it was taken down by authorities. 

She posted video clips of herself dancing to western pop and rap music without wearing a hijab, which is required by law to be worn by women in Iran. Not a lot is known about the woman's life, but her videos have been widely shared on social media since she was arrested. 

Ms Hojabri is said to have appeared on a state TV programme alongside other detainees, where they were forced to voice confessions on air, according to activists. 

Blogger Hossein Ronaghi said it's laughable to people in other parts of the world that teenagers could be arrested for "dancing, being happy and being beautiful" in Iran. 

Facebook and Twitter are already filtered by authorities in the conservative nation, while Instagram remains one of the few unblocked western apps. 

Iranian-American journalist Negar Mortazavi posted one of Ms Hojabri's videos to Twitter which was re-tweeted over 1000 times. 

One person commented: "Awesome excellent dancer. But more importantly, she is a brave great warrior against the barbaric regime who took a nation in hostage. We praise and admire her as a leader to let our voices for freedom to be heard."

Popular Instagram accounts are being targeted in Iran, the head of Tehran's cyber-police, Touraj Kazemi, has said. 

In 2014, three men and three women were tracked down and taken into custody after a clip of the friends' promo tribute, featuring them dancing on the streets and rooftops of Tehran to Pharrell Williams' hit song 'Happy', became a viral hit after it was uploaded onto YouTube

The city's police chief Hossein Sajedinia branded the footage vulgar and demanded the arrest of the fans and those involved in the shooting of the video.