Six Iranians who were jailed May 18 for creating a video of themselves dancing to Pharrell’s hit "Happy" have been freed, bringing with them tales of abuse at the hands of police.
Reihane Taravati, one of the women in the video and the sister of the clip’s director Siavash Taravati, announced via Facebook that they had been freed Wednesday. Their account of the time they spent in the Vozara police station in Tehran is rife with instances of alleged abuse: They were not permitted to use toilet facilities, were placed in solitary confinement and were forced to strip naked and perform squats.
Tehran police chief Hossein Sajedinia ordered the arrest of the six for their “obscene video clip that offended the public morals,” later forcing the group to repent on state TV.
Pharrell commented on the incident on his Facebook page, posting a photograph of the group and writing, “It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness.”
Interestingly, Iran President Hassan Rouhani Tweeted the following cryptic statement Wednesday.
Though presumably not intended to be taken as a political statement, it does suggest that Iran’s president is perhaps at odds with Tehran’s police force on the group’s arrest.
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