Target: President Hassan Rouhani
Goal: Drop charges on dancing youth who made “Happy” video
Seven Iranians—four men and three women—were arrested recently when a Youtube video depicting them dancing to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams went viral. Dancing in public, especially between men and women, is strictly forbidden in Iran. Also, the women weren’t wearing their hejab, violating another law in the country. Currently, six out of the seven dancers were released on bail, but authorities are keeping the director in custody. It is atrocious to arrest these youth for expressing themselves and the Iranian government should drop all charges immediately.
On May 21, 2014, authorities released six of the seven dancers after they confessed and apologized on public television. The dancers’ faces were blurred and they were identified after their stage names on the Youtube video. Sassan Soleimani is still being held by the authorities after admitting that he was the director. Those that have been released state that they were tricked into doing the video, where the dancers danced either on their own or together. Authorities arrested the dancers several weeks after the video was uploaded to Youtube, however, a statement from police commander Hossein Sajedinia contradicts this report, claiming that the dancers were arrested several days after the video was released. The police commander also warned other Iranian youth not to participate in such an event again.
The fact that Iran can prosecute its citizens for expressing themselves with dance is ridiculous. Our human rights allow us to express ourselves, but the Iranian government is violating these rights. Currently it’s not clear if the dancers are being charged, but since bail was posted and they were released, there is a chance they could face trial. Sign this petition and urge the Iranian president to drop all charges, as their actions were not violent in any way.
Dear President Hassan Rouhani,
I am writing to demand that you drop all charges on the youth responsible for dancing in the “Happy” video. These citizens were not doing anything violent and like the title suggests, were probably doing something joyous. It is ridiculous to charge these youth with a crime when no one was hurt as a result of filming.
I understand that dancing in public places, especially between men and women, is strictly forbidden, but this law violates the human right to expression. The mere fact that a woman has to wear a hejab in public places is another violation of this right. Your government is only traumatizing these citizens and I am imploring you to release them and drop all charges.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: D. Sharon Pruitt via Wikimedia Commons