Iran Sentences Producers of 'Happy' Tribute to Lashings, Prison

Group was arrested in May for production based on Pharrell Williams song; sentences will be voided in 3 years if members don't repeat the offense.

"Happy" is, at least as Iran's leaders would have it, vulgar. And criminal.

Seven people in Iran who produced a video based on the Pharrell Williams song were sentenced by the regime to prison terms and lashes for their trouble, media reports say.

The group was arrested in May. The sentences were suspended but the seven were forced to publicly confess and apologize on national TV, the reports say.

The lawyer for the group was quoted as saying that each of the members was sentenced to 91 lashes. The director's sentence included a year in jail while each of the others received six months.

The punishments will be voided in three years if the group does not commit a similar offense, the lawyer said.

The U.K. Independent quoted Tehran Police Chief Hossein Sajedinia warning others that the video was a vulgar clip that hurt public chastity."

The Daily Mail said that authorities objected to men and women dancing together and to the women not wearing the hijab.

In May, shortly after Hassan Rohani assumed Iran's presidency, he tweeted that "happiness is our people's right. We shouldn't be too hard on behaviors caused by joy." The remark was widely reported as expressing support for the producers of the video.

AP