Iran sentenced the three men and three women who danced to Pharrell’s song “Happy” to one year in prison and 91 lashes. The judge suspended the sentences for three years, but if any of them are arrested again, the government can impose the punishment during that time.
“A suspended sentence becomes null and void after a certain period of time,” said the group’s lawyer Farshid Rofugaran. “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 video was uploaded to YouTube and has over 1 million views. Authorities were notified of the video in May when the video was viewed 150,000 times. Police chief Hossein Sajedinia said the video was “vulgar” and “hurt public chastity.” Under Iran’s laws, all women “must cover their hair and wear loose-fitting clothing meant to preserve their modesty” and people cannot dance “with members of the opposite sex.” The internet is also filtered in the Muslim country.
The six actors said they were tricked into making the video for an audition. One female said the producers promised the actors the video would not be published.
“They told me they are making a feature film and they had a permit for it,” said one of the male actors. “They said those things and they fooled me.”
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