Iranians Receive Prison Sentence and 91 Lashes for Dancing to Pharrell’s ‘Happy’
While people across the world have celebrated Pharrell‘s ‘Happy,’ six Iranians are being punished for dancing to the song.
XXL reports that back in May, the group was arrested after filming a video set to Pharrell’s hit track. At the time, Tehran’s Chief of Police, Hossein Sajedinia, condemned the dancers, saying, “After a vulgar clip which hurt public chastity was released in cyberspace, police decided to identify those involved in making that clip.”
Earlier today (Sept. 19), IranWire reported that the five of the six Iranians have been sentenced to six months in prison and will each receive 91 lashes. The sixth member of the group will serve a year in prison, in addition to the 91 lashes. However, the dancers’ lawyer, Farshid Rofugaran, told IranWire that these are suspended sentences.
“A suspended sentence becomes null and void after a certain period of time,” Rofugaran said. In this case, he explained, that period will be three years. He says, “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.”
In other words, it sounds like the group is facing some sort of probation and if they maintain appropriate behavior, they won’t have to serve the time. At this time, Pharrell has not commented on the sentencing.