March 25, 2023

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Iranian couple filmed dancing in the street are jailed for 10 YEARS

An Iranian couple have been given jail sentences totalling 10 years after posting a video of themselves dancing in the street. They were reportedly convicted for promoting corruption, prostitution and propaganda.

The couple reportedly did not link their dance to ongoing protests in Iran.

Astiazh Haqiqi, 21, and her fiance, Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, have reportedly been convicted of “promoting corruption and prostitution, colluding against national security, and propaganda against the establishment”, according to the BBC.

Ms Haqiqi’s family home was raided before the arrest, the broadcaster reports.

They have each been sentenced to a total of 10 and a half years.

Meanwhile, the US Justice Department charged three men in an alleged plot to kill an Iranian American author and activist who has spoken out against human rights abuses in Iran, officials said on Friday (January 27).

Rafat Amirov, 43, from Iran, Polad Omarov, 38, of the Czech Republic and Slovenia and Khalid Mehdiyev, 24, of Yonkers, New York, were charged with money laundering and murder-for-hire in an indictment unsealed in federal court in New York.

Masih Alinejad, an Iranian opposition activist, journalist and writer in exile in New York, told The Associated Press she was the intended target.

Ms Alinejad told AP she was not scared after authorities in the US announced the charges.

She added: “The Iranian regime thinks by trying to kill me, they will silence me, or silence other women. But they only strengthen me, make me more powerful to fight for democracy and give voice to brave women who are facing guns and bullets in the streets to get rid of the Islamic Republic.”

The activist said FBI officials had read her messages the plotters exchanged between themselves, including a final one which read: “It’s going to be done today.”

While the man who allegedly orchestrated the plot lives in Iran, the indictment does not directly accuse the country’s theocracy of being behind the alleged murder-for-hire.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said, however, that the case follows “a disturbing pattern of Iranian government-sponsored efforts to kill, torture and intimidate into silence activists for speaking out for the rights and freedoms of Iranians around the world.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland said when announcing the charges that the government of Iran has previously targeted dissidents around the world who oppose the regime’s violations of human rights.

Mr Garland said individuals in Iran had tasked the defendants with carrying out the plot to kill the activist.

He added: “The victim publicised the Iranian government’s human rights abuses, discriminatory treatment of women, suppression of democratic participation and expression and use of arbitrary imprisonment, torture and execution.”

All three defendants are natives of Azerbaijan which shares a border and cultural ties with Iran.

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