Young Iranians Were Sentenced To Jail and 91 Lashes…All Because They Danced To Pharrell’s ‘Happy’

If you’re in Iran, you might want to think twice about busting a move to your favorite tune ’cause it just might get you a punishment of 91 lashes. Seriously.

Here’s the story:

Back in May, a group of young Iranian men and women were arrested after releasing a video of them dancing to Pharrell Williams’ hit single “Happy”. The clip, which was meant to be joyous and harmless, left the conservative government officials of Tehran pretty angry:

According to CNN, Tehran Police Chief Hossein Sajedinia ordered the arrests of the dancers over an “obscene video clip that offended the public morals and was released in cyberspace.” Sajedinia said the “vulgar clip” had “hurt public chastity.”

The youth were eventually released from jail and both Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and Pharrell himself spoke up in defense of their video. However, the Iranian government hasn’t forgotten their “obscene” wrongdoings. On Friday, the “criminals” finally received their harsh sentences.

Lawyer Farshid Rofugaran said Friday the seven have been sentenced to six months in jail and 91 lashes each, though the verdict won’t be carried out unless the defendants commit crimes and are found guilty in the future. He says the suspended jail term is the punishment for acting in the video and the lashes are over ignoring Islamic norms.

Below, watch the “controversial” clip that started it all.

Via Billboard