A shirtless boy and a girl in shorts and a tank top kiss on the ledge of a skyscraper. In the background, Tehran at dawn. It is one of the images shared last week on social media by Alireza Japalaghy, Iranian parkour champion. “Obscene acts”: Tehran police arrested him.
Parkour is a metropolitan sport of French origin that has spread to many urban realities: it consists in following a path, overcoming obstacles with the greatest efficiency, speed and ease of movement possible. Japalaghy publishes images of his exploits on the top of buildings that are dizzyingly tall and close to each other in the western quarters of Tehran, where parkour has a following. Last week he released a series of very sensual photos in the company of his girlfriend. Then in a video on Instagram he said he had received “suspicious calls” that invited him to form to avoid public arrest. The next day the brother announced on the same profile that Alireza had been picked up by agents at home. Even the girl, who does not respect the modest dress and hair veil rules in the Islamic Republic, was arrested in the “cyber-police” operation, according to the BBC.
Iranian boys show themselves on social media more freely than they do on the streets of their cities. Two years ago a young woman was arrested for posting videos of herself while dancing in her veilless room. In 2014, six young men ended up in handcuffs for posting a movie on YouTube where they danced to the notes of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. From time to time, the “Center for Monitoring and Combating Cybercrimes” raids and declares that it intends to clean up the entire Iranian cyberspace. But the authorities know that there are young people who dance, drink and hang out in private.
Some admirers noted yesterday that Japalaghy had previously shared photos such as those now under accusation, but was arrested after publishing a message in which he reported the disappearance of his father, a police officer of the Narcotics section, and complained about the failure of the authority to investigate the case.
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