WARNING: Some of the content in this story may be disturbing to viewers. Discretion is advised.
A young Iranian couple, who went viral in November 2022 for a video of them dancing in the streets in Tehran, has been sentenced to 10 and half years in jail.
The engaged couple, Astiyazh Haghighi, 21 and Amir Mohammed Ahmad, 22, were each convicted of encouraging corruption and threatening national security, according to the activist HRANA news agency.
Their sentencing gained attention worldwide thanks in part to a Vancouver-based organization, Iranian Knowledge.
The research-based education nonpartisan translates news from Farsi to English and creates video content to spread the information.
They also have created a searchable database on political prisoners in the hopes of pairing them up with a political sponsor.
The group plans on publicly listing Islamic republic judges involved in the sentencing of demonstrators. This is all in an effort to raise awareness and push governments around the world to react.
Farid Najafi, one of the founders of Iranian Knowledge said the couple, bloggers based out of Tehran, “were arrested and violently beaten up.
“This has obviously caused an uproar around the world, including with the Iranian community. There was a fellow who beheaded his wife and only got eight years but this couple, for simply dancing in the street, got 10 and a half years,” Najafi said.
Another troubling case, also on the radar of Iranian Knowledge, is that of Shahla Abdi.
Abdi, a woman in her early 20s, is reportedly set to be executed along with her unborn baby. She’s four months pregnant.
“Whenever you think this is as outrageous as it can get, the Islamic Republic manages to surprise you,” Najafi added.
According to the Islamic Republic judiciary, Abdi set fire to a portrait of the founding father of the Islamic Republic, Ruhollah Khomeini…a crime punishable by death.
Nearly 40 years ago, Port Coquitlam woman Mahbubeh Mojtahed, was seven months pregnant when she and her husband, who was executed in 1988, were imprisoned at the notorious Evin Prison. Her son was born and raised in prison for almost two years. Her husband was a journalist and they were both political activists against the Islamic Republic since its inception in 1979.
“My heart is beating for her. I think about her (Shahla) every single moment,” said Mahbubeh.
Mahbubeh said she relates to Abdi and understands how she must be feeling right now. She is now advocating for her release.
Mahbubeh was tortured and gave birth in prison. Mahbubeh said the conditions were so bad inside the jail that she often would have to sleep sitting up when she was pregnant because there was no room for her to lie down.
The horrific news of Abdi’s reported imminent execution is taking her back to when she was pregnant and imprisoned.
“When it was released on social media I immediately had flashbacks to the situation I was in when I didn’t know what was going to happen to my life.”
Ultimately being pregnant is what spared Mahbubeh from execution.
“How dare they (the Islamic Republic) do that to an innocent child…a child not yet born,” said Mahbubeh.
Iranian Knowledge is currently searching for a Canadian MP to sponsor Abdi in the hopes that may help save her and the baby’s life.
As the Islamic Republic intensifies its crackdown, Canadians are doing what they can to amplify the voices of its most committed opponents.
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