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Iran sentences dancing youths to jail, 91 lashes

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Tehran, Sep 18 :

A group of Iranian youths, who released a video on YouTube dancing to the popular song “Happy” by American singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams, has been sentenced to six months in jail accompanied by 91 lashes, media reported Thursday.

According to the youths’ lawyer Farshid Rofugaran, the six were given the sentence Wednesday, Iran Wire reported.

While the sentence is a suspended sentence, Iranian authorities reportedly can impose it anytime within the next three years.

The group was arrested in May 2014, a month after their video, part of a global campaign launched by Williams, was viewed by more than 100,000 people on YouTube.

During their incarceration, they were humiliated and forced to confess on national television.

They apologised for making the video, and said they had been tricked into doing it.

“They had promised us not to publish the video,” one of the young women arrested said.

After the confession they were released on bail.

News of their arrest sparked international outrage on social media, with Williams himself pleading for their release via his Twitter account.

(IANS)