Iran arrests culture ministry official over public dance

A handout picture provided by the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on April 14, 2018, shows him (2nd-R) delivering a speech. (AFP)
Updated 19 April 2018
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Iran arrests culture ministry official over public dance

  • Iran arrested a senior official after a video posted online showed young boys and girls dancing in public in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad
  • The video shared on social networks showed young boys and girls dancing in a shopping mall, where a singer was performing for a huge crowd

TEHRAN: Iran on Thursday arrested a senior official after a video posted online showed young boys and girls dancing in public in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad, the judiciary said.
“The head of the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance in Mashhad was arrested for undermining public decency and disrespecting the laws,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online news agency said quoting a deputy prosecutor.
Islamic law in Iran prohibits public dancing.
The video shared on social networks showed young boys and girls dancing in a shopping mall, where a singer was performing for a huge crowd. The event took place on Tuesday.
Mohsen Afshar, a spokesman for the shopping center, told the ISNA news agency that a monthly draw is organized and a car given away to the lucky winner to attract customers.
According to Afshar the singer had the necessary “official permits to perform.”
The performance can attract 10,000-12,000 people, he said, including “some individuals whose behavior is contrary to the norms of the Islamic republic.”
But Heydari told Tasnim news agency that the mall was not authorized to organize such events.
Mashhad is a holy and conservative city where in 2016 concerts were banned by the Friday prayer leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Allamolhoda, who also told music-lovers to “Go somewhere else.”
Thursday’s arrest comes days after Tehran’s reformist mayor, Mohammad Ali Najafi, resigned after claims he was threatened with arrest.
Najafi had attracted criticism from hard-liners last month after attending in March a show at City Hall for Iranian Women’s Day in which schoolgirls performed a traditional dance.


Egypt arrests activist Hazem Abdel-Azim, former El-Sisi supporter

Updated 27 May 2018
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Egypt arrests activist Hazem Abdel-Azim, former El-Sisi supporter

  • Egyptian security officials say a prominent activist has been detained

CAIRO: Egyptian security officials say a prominent activist has been detained, the latest in a new wave of arrests since presidential elections earlier this year.
The officials say Hazem Abdel-Azim was taken from his home in a Cairo suburb late Saturday on accusations that include disseminating false news and belonging to an outlawed group.
Abdel-Azim has been known for his harsh criticism of the government since he left President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s campaign in the 2014 elections.
The officials spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to media.
Egypt has arrested a number of secular activists since El-Sisi was re-elected in March in a vote in which he faced no serious challengers.
The latest arrests come amid a wider crackdown on dissent in which thousands of people have been jailed.