Authorities in Iran arrested four girls and women last week for posting videos of themselves dancing on Instagram. Only one of the girls, 17-year-old gymnast Maedeh Hojabri, has been identified. State TV in Iran aired her “confession” on Friday.
Instagram is one of the few Western social media sites not heavily blocked in Iran, and Hojabri posted about 300 photos and videos before her account was temporarily shut down. Her account appears to be back up as of this morning. Hojabri posted a new video just hours ago addressing her critics.
Hojabri, who reportedly has often spoken about gymnastics and parkour in her videos, was not wearing a hijab in the videos that got her into trouble, which is required by law for women in the authoritarian country.
As The Guardian reports, not much is known about Hojabri, but she’s become the face of a resistance movement against modesty laws for women in the Islamic country. A hashtag of her name,
#مائده_هژیری, has emerged. Another, which roughly translates to #dancing_isn’t_a_crime, has also become popular. Logically, most people reportedly suspect her “confession” on Friday was made under pressure from Iranian authorities.
“It wasn’t for attracting attention,” one of the arrested women said through tears in a broadcast on Friday, according to The Guardian. “I had some followers and these videos were for them. I did not have any intention to encourage others doing the same… I didn’t work with a team, I received no training. I only do gymnastics.”