Why dozens of people have been arrested for Instagram photos

Posted by
Susan Devaney
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Several people have been arrested in Iran in a bid to crackdown on “immoral” behaviour on social media. 

From Instagram models to beauty salon owners, multiple people in Iran have been arrested for posting photos and videos on social media.

More than 40 people, including at least eight women, have been arrested, according to The Independent.

Police said those arrested – many whom own wedding businesses or photography studios – were “damaging public virtue through the organised spreading of anticultural” activities.

Earlier this month, Maedeh Hojabri, an 18-year-old gymnast, was arrested after posting clips of herself dancing in her bedroom to her thousands of Instagram followers. 

Since her arrest Hojabri has appeared on national TV with other detainees to make a public apology.

“It wasn’t for attracting attention,” she said, with her face blurred and crying. “I had some followers and these videos were for them. I did not have any intention to encourage others doing the same … I didn’t work with a team, I received no training. I only do gymnastics.”

Hojabri’s videos were filmed in her bedroom as she danced to Western and Iranian music without wearing a hijab, which is mandatory in public in Iran.

Instagram remains one of the few unblocked apps in the country. Currently, Facebook and Twitter are filtered.

In protest, many people took to Twitter to share videos of themselves dancing in protest using the hashtag, #DancingIsNotACrime.

In 2014, several people were reportedly arrested in Iran after posting a video of themselves dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song, Happy.

You can read more here.

Images: Unsplash / Twitter