Six young Iranians were jailed for appearing in a video of Pharrell’s song “Happy.” Reports say that the Iranians have been freed on $100,000 bail, but the director of the video still remains in prison.
According to reports, they were arrested for participating in an “obscene video clip that offended the public morals and was released in cyberspace.”
The brother of the videographer said that police went to the homes of the Iranians, and searched their cellphones, computers, and cameras.
Pharrell heard about the news and denounced the arrests. “It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness,” he said on Twitter.
It's beyond sad these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness http://t.co/XV1VAAJeYI
— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) May 21, 2014
Hossein Sajedinia, Tehran Police Chief, was the one who ordered the arrests of the participants. Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, seems to think otherwise. On his Twitter account, he said, “#Happiness is our people’s right. We shouldn’t be too hard on behaviors caused by joy.”
"#Happiness is our people's right. We shouldn't be too hard on behaviors caused by joy." 29/6/2013
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) May 21, 2014
In a speech that President Rouhani gave last weekend, he said that the internet is an opportunity to get voices heard. He also said that citizens have a right to connect to the internet.
Aside from Pharrell and President Rouhani, support also came from Twitter users around the world. They used #FreeHappyIranians to respond to the arrests.
Arrested for dancing!? Seriously man, get a grip #freehappyiranians
— ♕ Ayah Marar ♕ (@AyahMarar) May 22, 2014
This world is ridiculous!!! #FreeHappyIranians
— panshak zamani (@Iceprincezamani) May 21, 2014
We want happiness more than anythingelse and that reaches us through freedom. #freehappyiranians
— rayans (@rayansz_) May 20, 2014
#freehappyiranians They were just happy! What a shameful crime!
— Mostafa Ghafoori (@MostafaGhafoori) May 20, 2014
With these arrests, it is evident that the president is not the only one making decisions in Iran. The National Iranian American Council condemned the authorities who were responsible for the arrest. In a statement, the council said, “There are forces within Iran’s government who want to keep the Iranian people isolated from the world.”
Here's the video that got them arrested
Image via YouTube