“Happy” Video Director Linked to Rouhani Campaign Remains in Detention
Sassan Soleimani, the director of one version of the “Happy in Tehran” video, remains in Rajaee-Shahr Prison in Karaj where he is being deprived of sleep, days after six people who appeared in the video were released from detention, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Soleimani, a 33-year-old filmmaker and animator, told Zendegi Ideal (Ideal Life) magazine in 2013 that when he was taking photos for Hassan Rouhani’s presidential election campaign, campaign officials asked him to suggest a color for campaign materials and he chose purple, which became Rouhani’s official color during the campaign.
Authorities had told Soleimani’s family that he could be released on bail but as of May 24 he was still in prison. The family was told to come back in one week for a visit.
On May 19, the morality police arrested three men and three women on charges of dancing in a video based on Pharrell Williams’ international hit song, “Happy” and held them at the unit’s station on Vozara (Khaled Eslamboli) St. in Tehran. They were released two days later after posting bail of between 300 million and 500 million rials each (between about $10,000 and $16,600).
The Campaign has learned that while the six were in detention, they were pressured by interrogators into accusing Soleimani of tricking them.
Soleimani was arrested on May 20 while agents confiscated his personal computer and other belongings from his home. Bail was set at 500 million rials ($16,600) but officials have not let him go free despite the family’s preparedness to pay.
Soleimani was previously arrested for making the “Soosan Khanom” video for the Barobax pop band in Iran.