Iran has jailed 12 people working in the fashion industry for “spreading prostitution” through photos posted online.
The 12 men and women have been penalised for up to six years for posting photos of ‘un-Islamic acts’ on Instagram. Subsequently, they have been banned from working in fashion and will not be allowed to leave the country for two years after completing their sentences, reportsIlna News.
They were also charged with spreading a “Western-style culture of nudity.” The defendants plan to appeal against the charges.
The arrests were made under a two-year-old sting operation named “Spider II”, targeting models who post photos online without the hijab.Covering the hair in public is compulsory for women in Iran since its 1979 Islamic revolution. Nearly 170 people have been apprehended since the programme was launched.
This is not the first time Iran has arrested people for posting images online. Earlier this year eight people were arrested for working in “un-Islamic” online modelling networks, particularly on Instagram, the head of Tehran’s cybercrimes court said on state television.
Instagram is extremely popular in Iran. Unlike Facebook, Twitter and YouTube which remain blocked, Instagram is accessible to Iranians.