A young teenage girl in Iran, who posted dance videos on Instagram and attracted tens of thousands of followers, has detained on Friday. Including she three other individuals were arrested on similar charges in recent weeks before being released on bail.
According to activists, Maedeh Hojabri, 18-year-old gymnast, was one of a number of users behind popular Instagram accounts who was only trying to gain more followers. The identities of the other detainees have not been confirmed.
She had posted around 300 videos on her account, many of which showed her dancing in both Iranian and Western styles. She also appeared in videos without wearing the obligatory Islamic headscarf. Her performances had thousands of followers on various accounts with her name on them, ranging from 12,000 to 66,000 followers. None of the accounts were verified.
Iranian-American journalist Negar Mortazavi posted one of Ms Hojabri’s videos to Twitter which was re-tweeted over 1000 times.
One person commented: “Awesome excellent dancer. But more importantly, she is a brave great warrior against the barbaric regime who took a nation in hostage. We praise and admire her as a leader to let our voices for freedom to be heard.”
Iranian police have said they plan to shut down similar accounts on Instagram, and the judiciary is considering blocking access to the site.
Iran has already blocked access to many social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the Telegram messaging app. Millions of Iranians continue to use the sites through proxies and VPNs.
Iran’s judiciary and security forces are dominated by hard-liners who launch periodic crackdowns on behavior deemed un-Islamic. The latest arrests came amid a series of protests against the government’s handling of the economy.
Blogger Hossein Ronaghi said it’s laughable to people in other parts of the world that teenagers could be arrested for “dancing, being happy and being beautiful” in Iran.