Teen detained over Instagram dance videos

Maedeh – Iran dancer

Hojabri's arrest has sparked massive support from many Iranian women who began posting their own dancing videos in support of the teenager with the hashtags #dancetofreedom and #dancing_isn't_a_crime.

Numerous protesters and supporters of Hojabri are Iranian women, who've also been posting videos of themselves dancing in public.

Women in Iran are required by law to wear headscarves and modest clothing in public.

The confession stated that she didn't want attention for her dancing and that she's just a gymnast: "It wasn't for attracting attention". She was seen apparently confessing to her "crimes" on state television alongside the others that were arrested. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) condemns the Iranian authorities' arrest and inhumane treatment of 18-year-old Maedeh Hojabri.

A supporter uploaded video of people dancing on the streets of London as she wrote, "We hit the #London pavement today, dancing in solidarity with #MaedehHojabri who has been sentenced to prison for dancing".

Officials arrested the 17- or 18-year-old Hojabri after she shared videos of herself dancing to Western and Iranian music at home with her tens of thousands of followers. In the Middle Eastern country it is illegal for women to dance or be seen without a hijab in public. I did not have any intention to encourage others doing the same... The Times reports authorities have said they may soon ban Instagram, and announced that 51,000 Instagram pages are under surveillance for vulgar and inappropriate videos.

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The police have stated that they have plans to shut down similar accounts on Instagram, and the judiciary is now formulating regulations that may severely limit, or completely block the website altogether. "I did not work with a network", a crying Hojabri said.

Social services such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are considered a problem for the Islamic establishment in Iran, and the judiciary has demanded that all social networks be blocked. "I only do gymnastics".

"I'm dancing so that they [the authorities] see and know that they can not take away our happiness and hope by arresting teenagers and [girls like] Maedeh", one social media user wrote according to the BBC.

Hojabri and an unknown number of other social media users were arrested at an unknown date.

"Despite this suffocating atmosphere and the threat of imprisonment, people continue to express themselves and protest these restrictions", added Ghaemi.

This is not the first time that young people in Iran have been caught in the war between religious hardliners and liberals demanding more social freedoms in the country.

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