More than 30 college students in Iran were arrested, interrogated and given 99 lashes for attending a mixed-gender graduation party, Iran’s judiciary has announced. The prosecutor in Qazvin, about 90 miles northwest of the capital Tehran, said more than 30 students were arrested while “dancing and jubilating.” Esmail Sadeghi Niaraki described the women as “half naked,” meaning they were not wearing Islamic coverings, scarves and coats. After questioning, the defendants were sentenced to 99 lashes, Niaraki said.
Mixed-gender parties, dancing and drinking alcohol are illegal in Iran, but lashings have more often been used as a threat than an actual punishment. The nation’s hard-line judiciary, however, has been increasingly cracking down since the February parliamentary victory of a reformist and moderate coalition. Last week, it announced the arrest of several “Instagram models,” ordered the arrest of a blogger, and warned prominent actors and actresses with significant social media followings about adhering to “Islamic behavior” and dress code.
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