#Human Rights
UN, Ban ki-Moon, OHCHR, Navi Pillay, Ahmed Shaheed, State Department, EU, European Parliament, FCO

UPDATE August 12, 2014--The youths involved in making the “Happy in Tehran” dance video will be collectively put on trial on September 9, 2014, a source informed the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

The accused, who are being represented by several lawyers, were last summoned for questioning between June 16 and June 19. They were asked questions such as, “Whose idea was it to make the video?” and “Who uploaded the video on YouTube?”

The charges include “illegitimate relations,” “contact with foreign television networks,” “distribution of a video on the vulgar YouTube channel,” “failure to observe Islamic covering [hijab],” and “dancing.” Agents used personal photos and films confiscated during the arrests to pile additional charges against the accused.

On May 19, 2014, six individuals involved in the Iranian version of the popular “Happy” video by Pharrell Williams were detained and transferred to the Tehran Morality Police’s Vozara Complex. They were released two days later, after posting bail. Sassan Soleimani, the video’s alleged director, was arrested on May 20, 2014, and held in detention for several weeks.

The arrests triggered an international outcry, especially when the accused were featured in the news on Iranian state television, before they were formally charged, where they were forced to express remorse for their participation in the video.

In addition to Soleimani, others accused in the case include Reyhaneh Taravati, Neda Motameni, Afshin Sohrabi, Bardia Moradi, Roham Shamekhi, and Sepideh [no last name available].

Soleimani previously spent some time in prison for making a music video for the “Soosan Khanom” song by the popular Iranian band “Barobax.” Soleimani also said in a previous interview that he proposed the color purple as the campaign color for Hassan Rouhani’s 2013 presidential campaign.
SOURCE: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran


UPDATE May 28, 2014--The director of the "Happy Iranians" video, Sassan Soleimani, has now been released on bail. He, along with the six young men and women who danced in this video are still facing criminal charges.

May 22, 2014--The six young men and women who danced to Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy” in a video that went viral on YouTube, and were arrested for it, were released on bail one day later. However, the director of the video, Sassan Soleimani, remains detained. The young dancers who were released on bail were told they would be prosecuted.

The youths’ dance video received over a hundred thousand views on YouTube before it was taken down and the youths arrested. They were then paraded on state television, where they were forced to issue statements of remorse and contrition.

The incident has reportedly caused widespread revulsion in Iran at the humiliation of the youths for a dance video in which they exclaimed their happiness.

We, the undersigned, urge the Rouhani administration to condemn these arrests in the strongest possible terms, and to use all the powers of presidential office to protect the basic rights and freedoms of Iranian citizens;

If, however, Mr. Soleimani is not released and/or if criminal charges are actually filed against any of the young people involved in this harmless dance video, then:

We, the undersigned urge the international community at ALL levels to bring ALL possible pressure to bear upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to IMMEDIATELY and UNCONDTIONALLY drop all charges against any of the seven individuals involved in the making of the "Happy Iranians" video, and to start honoring its legally-binding human rights obligations under both international law and the Iranian Constitution.

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The Drop ALL Charges Against The Six "Happy Iranian" Dancers and Sassan Soleimani, Director of The "Happy Iranians""Video petition to UN, Ban ki-Moon, OHCHR, Navi Pillay, Ahmed Shaheed, State Department, EU, European Parliament, FCO was written by John S. Burke and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.