Iran sentences rapper to death for backing protests, state media reports

by Admin
Iran sentences rapper to death for backing protests, state media reports

An Iranian court has sentenced to death a popular rapper jailed for more than a year and a half for supporting nationwide protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death, local media reported Wednesday.

Toomaj Salehi, 33, was arrested in October 2022 after publicly backing the wave of demonstrations that erupted a month earlier, triggered by the death in custody of 22-year-old Amini.

The Iranian Kurdish woman had been detained by the morality police in Tehran over an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s strict dress rules for women.

Salehi was sentenced in 2023 to six years and three months in prison. But he was freed on bail on November 18, the singer’s lawyer Amir Raisian said at the time, because the Supreme Court had found “flaws in the initial sentence” of six years in prison.

The rapper was rearrested less than two weeks later.

The Revolutionary Court added accusations against Salehi of “assistance in sedition, assembly and collusion, propaganda against the system and calling for riots,” Raisian said.

“Branch 1 of Isfahan Revolutionary Court … sentenced Salehi to death on the charge of corruption on Earth,” Raisian said, quoted on Wednesday by the reformist Shargh newspaper.

The court “in an unprecedented move, emphasized its independence and did not implement the Supreme Court’s ruling,” Raisian said, adding that “we will certainly appeal against the sentence.”

Months of unrest following Amini’s death on September 16, 2022, saw hundreds of people killed including dozens of security personnel, and thousands more arrested.

Iranian officials labeled the protests riots and accused Tehran’s foreign foes of fomenting the unrest.

Nine men have been executed in protest-related cases involving killings and other violence against security forces.

After Amini’s death, a growing number of women began appearing in public across the country without adhering to the dress code and the morality police had kept a low profile.

However, since April 13, Iran’s police have started to toughen controls on women who ignore the rules by deploying patrol vans on main Tehran squares, according to local media.

The media reported that police in the capital had launched a campaign codenamed “Noor,” the Persian word for light, in their efforts to double down on those who break the dress code, known as hijab, which makes it mandatory for women to cover their hair and bodies in public places.

In an effort to tackle those breaking hijab laws, the authorities have also shut cafes and restaurants where the wearing of the hijab was not respected.

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