Iranian Youths Arrested for Instagram Pictures

Six girls and one boy who took pictures of themselves modeling and uploaded them to Instagram have been arrested by Iranian policemen. The reason? Appearing on pictures with too few clothes and not covering their heads – in a country where Islamic law is still enforced.

They’re Niloufar Behboudi (@niloufar.behboudi) and Dana Nick (@dana_nick), two Iranian womn who used to post a video or a picture of them on Instagram every day. (Instagram, unlike Facebook and Twitter, can still be used in Iran) Sometimes they’d take a picture where their hair wasn’t covered by a veil, or where they were showing their calves or their shoulders. These, which wouldn’t be important at all in a Western country, are considered actions against the law in Iran. Women have to cover their bodies entirely, except for their faces and hands. Niloufar and Dana would sometimes wear clothes by Iranian designers and brands.

One of the pictures by Dana Nick One of the pictures by Dana Nick

They could be considered models and they had hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram. Now they’re no longer banned from Instagram, but a sign could be read until not so long ago on their profiles: “Blocked – Due to production and vast publication of vulgar images inciting to acts contrary to moral, and to having misused virtual space.”

It’s the last move of an Iranian brigade called FATA, which is in charge of surveilling the net looking for acts or things against Islam, or acts that can be a menace to national security. Some people have been forced to leave the country, such as Elnaz Golrokh (@elnaz_golrokh), which has nearly 600K followers and whose images were deemed too indecent for Iran.

Among the things that are forbidden to be shown on Instagram is that a woman appears on a picture with a man to whom she’s not related. The question is: can Instagram, and the Internet, be stopped by law?

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