Not so happy in Iran, certainly no clapping along

The religion of peace strikes again.

Six Iranians who appeared in a video singing along to the American pop song Happy have been given suspended sentences of six months in prison and 91 lashes for obscene behaviour.  

A seventh defendant, who faced “heavier charges”, was sentenced to a year in jail and 91 lashes, the IranWire website quoted the defendents’ solicitor, Farshid Rofugaran, as saying. The sentences were handed down on Wednesday.

Rofurgan told IranWire the verdicts had not been officially communicated to him, so he could not be completely sure about the information he had gathered. IranWire is a news and features website run from outside the Iran.

The sentences are suspended for three years, meaning that if any of the seven is found guilty of a similar offence the punishment is carried out, he said, without elaborating.

The seven defendants, four men and three women, were arrested by police in May after six of them were shown lip-synching to Pharrell Williams’ hit song Happy. The women were bareheaded, in violation of the Islamic dress code enforced after the Islamic revolution in 1979.

The arrests were condemned on social media by Williams and his fans on social media. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, indirectly criticised the verdicts.

“The way to deal with cultural issues is cultural work, not policemen and [detention] vans and strong-arm tactics,” the president told a gathering of conservative clerics in the religious city of Mashhad this month.

And here is the offending video…hardly worth the bother if you ask me.


– Fairfax

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