An Iranian court has handed jail sentences of over 10 years each to a young couple who danced in front of one of Tehran's main landmarks in a video that went viral and is seen as a symbol of defiance against the regime, AFP reported Tuesday.
Astiyazh Haghighi and her fiancé, Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, both in their early 20s, were arrested in early November after a video went viral of them dancing romantically in front of the Azadi Tower in Tehran.
Haghighi did not wear a headscarf in the video, in defiance of the Islamic Republic's strict rules for women. In addition, women are not allowed to dance in public in Iran, let alone with a man.
A revolutionary court in Tehran sentenced them each to 10 years and six months in prison, as well as bans on using the Internet and leaving Iran, the US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) said on Tuesday, according to AFP.
The couple, who already had a following in Tehran as popular Instagram bloggers, were convicted of "encouraging corruption and public prostitution" as well as "gathering with the intention of disrupting national security", it added.
HRANA cited sources close to their families as saying they had been deprived of lawyers during the court proceedings while attempts to secure their release on bail have been rejected.
It said Haghighi is now in the notorious Qarchak prison for women outside Tehran, whose conditions are regularly condemned by activists.
The prison sentences for the couple come amid the crackdown on anti-government protests in Iran, which erupted in September following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was arrested for failing to wear a head covering.
At least 14,000 people have been arrested, according to the United Nations, ranging from prominent celebrities, journalists and lawyers to ordinary people who took to the streets.
Several people have already been executed over their involvement in the protests and death sentences have been handed down to others.
The couple's video had been hailed as a symbol of the freedoms demanded by the protest movement, with Ahmadi at one moment lifting his partner in the air as her long hair flowed behind.