The Iranian government have reportedly hit a new low as they recently rounded up six youths for dancing in an online viral video to Pharrell Williams song Happy.
The six youths, who’s video went viral in Iran and around the world, received six month prison sentences and were sentenced to receive 91 lashes, in line with state law in Iran, which is based on fundamental Islam.
Th group’s lawyer, Farshid Rofugaran, told Iran Wire that, fortunately, the men’s sentences are being suspended,
A suspended sentence becomes null and void after a certain period of time. When it’s a suspended sentence, the verdict is not carried out, but if during this period a similar offense is committed, then the accused is subject to legal punishment and the suspended sentence will then be carried out as well.
The arrests took place back in May, around one month after the video clip of the youths being “happy” hit YouTube. Apparently, the powers that be in Iran were upset due to the fact that women can be seen dancing next to the six men and not wearing head veils.
The three men and three women who were arrested were then humiliated and forced to go on national television to apologize for the video, saying they had been tricked into doing it. Following their “confession,” they were all released on bail.
The group of friends now have the choice of accepting the verdict against them or appealing it. As Rofugaran told reporters, “I will do what my clients want me to do. We are happy that both the prison sentences and the lashes are suspended.”
Amnesty International UK’s Head of Campaigns, Champa Patel condemned the trial and told MailOnline:
Arresting people for dancing in a video tribute to a song called Happy is taking things to a new level of dark irony even for the authoritarian Iranian authorities. Iran already stamps all over freedom of expression, banning the use of satellite dishes, filtering the internet, and jailing journalists, artists and film directors. The authorities should stop persecuting these people and drop this ludicrous case against them.
The offending video’s description summed up the sentiments the video attempted to portray about everyday people in Iran, “We have made this video as Pharrell Williams’ fans in 8hrs, with iPhone 5S. ‘Happy’ was an excuse to be happy. We enjoyed every second of making it. Hope it puts a smile on your face.”