Rights group: Iranian 'Happy' video dancers get suspended sentences

Brother speaks out on Iran 'Happy' video
Brother speaks out on Iran 'Happy' video

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Brother speaks out on Iran 'Happy' video 07:49

Story highlights

  • A dance video got three men and three women and the director in trouble
  • Their sentence is they have to stay out of any more trouble for 3 years
  • If not, they will get 91 lashes each and go to prison
  • The pop song "Happy" was the inspiration for the video
Six Iranians who were arrested after making a dance video set to Pharrell Williams' song "Happy" received suspended sentences of six months in prison and 91 lashes, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said Thursday, citing sources close to the accused.
Another person involved in the making of the video, Reihane Taravati, received a suspended 12-month prison sentence in addition to suspended lashes, the rights group's executive director, Hadi Ghaemi, said. Authorities accused her of possessing alcohol and posting the video online, the group said.
A trial was held early last week.
The sentences of prison terms and lashes are suspended for three years provided the seven people -- Taravati, director Sassan Soleimani, Neda Motameni, Afshin Sohrabi, Bardia Moradi, Roham Shamekhi, and a person known as Sepideh --- don't engage in any more "wrongdoings," the organization said.
The accused were charged with "participation in producing a vulgar video clip" and conducting "illicit relations," according to the human rights group.
The "Happy in Tehran" video received international attention when it was posted on YouTube. The three men and three women were arrested May 19 by Tehran police for helping make an "obscene video clip that offended the public morals and was released in cyberspace," the Iranian Students' News Agency reported. Director Soleimani was arrested the next day.
Following the arrests, Iranian authorities forced the young people to repent on state TV.
Just like in the original video, the Iranian fan version features a montage of men and women dancing to the song in a variety of settings.
At the time, Pharrell, who is known professionally by his first name only, denounced the arrests.
"It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness," the Grammy Award-winner said on his Facebook page.