Iranian teen arrested for dancing on Instagram

One Twitter user, who posted a video of herself dancing with her back turned to the camera, wrote: "I'm dancing so that they [the authorities] see and know that they can not take away our happiness and hope by arresting teenagers and (girls like) Maedeh".

Maedeh Hojabri, who was born in Tehran, practiced gymnastics for few years before participating in the sport of Parkour, a training discipline using movement that developed from military obstacle course, which is the reason for her current accusation.

The teenage gymnast reassured authorities that it was not her intention to do so.

Hojabri also appeared in some videos without a headscarf, an obligatory dress code for women in Iran.

She claims she was trying only trying to gain followers.

Shabooneh, a local news website, said Hojabri and three other individuals were detained on similar charges in recent weeks before being released on bail.

Her arrest has prompted many to fear that the Iranian government will shut down Instagram, as authorities have reported a crackdown on popular accounts, according to the Guardian.

Many people think authorities will end up banning the photo and video sharing app. Facebook and Twitter are already filtered in the country. "I'm dancing for liberty and joy, which are your right", said one middle-aged woman who posted a video of herself dancing in her living room.

After the Friday broadcast, Iranian woman have showed their support for the teenager by posting their own dance videos to hashtags that translate as #dance_to_freedom and #dancing_isn't_a_crime.

As the BBC notes, six Iranian girls were given sentences of a year in prison and 91 lashes after they were convicted in 2014 of posting videos of themselves dancing to the Pharrell Williams song "Happy".

Another person, Masih Alinejad, posted a video of herself defiantly dancing in a public park in Tehran. "I did not have any intention to encourage others doing the same".

Ashraf Sherjan posted several videos for Iranian women while dancing wondering how dancing is considered a crime in Iran. Even though President Hassan Rouhani has repeatedly indicated that he may favor opening up Iran's restrictive official Internet, enforcing laws online is ultimately up to the judiciary, which is controlled by religious hard-liners.

Last year, for instance, four men and two women were detained for teaching the Colombian fitness routine Zumba and "Western" dances.

Vanessa Coleman

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