Speed Reads

Footloose

Iran sentences 'Happy' tribute video stars to 6 months in jail, 91 lashes each

In May, police in Tehran arrested seven young Iranians for making a "a vulgar clip which hurt public chastity" and uploading it to YouTube. The clip was them dancing and being goofy to the Pharrell Williams song "Happy," joining people from all over the world in heeding Williams' call to upload video demonstrations of being happy for the U.N.'s International Day of Happiness.

On Wednesday, judges in Tehran sentenced six of the performers to six months in prison and 91 lashes each, and the video's director to a year in jail and 91 lashes. Luckily, their lawyer tells IranWire, the sentences appear to be suspended, meaning the punishments won't be enacted unless the young men and women commit a similar "offense" in the next three years. In three years, the sentence expires.

Why did these young Iranians risk punishment at all? "We wanted to tell the world that the Iranian capital is full of lively young people and change the harsh and rough image that the world sees on the news," Neda said before they were arrested in May. Please watch Neda and the others in their "vulgar clip" below. --Peter Weber