News Asia Dissident Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi released after one year in prison

Dissident Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi released after one year in prison

Dissident Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi released after one year in prison

Famous for his songs critical of power in Iran, rapper Toomaj Salehi, in prison since October 31 in Tehran, was released on bail by the Iranian authorities, according to his lawyer who spoke to the reformist daily Shargh. The dissident artist had suffered severe torture from his first days of imprisonment.

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Famous Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi was released on bail after spending more than a year in prison for his support for the protest movement provoked by the death of Mahsa Amini in September 2022, local media reported on Sunday, November 19.

The 32-year-old musician was arrested in October 2022 and then sentenced to six years and three months in prison for “corruption on earth”.

Toomaj Salehi “was released from prison” after a decision by the Supreme Court, his lawyer Amir Raisian told the reformist daily Shargh.

“He has become a symbol for an entire country”

This popular rapper had supported through his songs and on social networks the protest movement triggered after the death on September 16, 2022 of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian Kurd detained by the moral police, who accused her of having violated the dress code strict for women.

The Judicial Authority then accused the singer of “propaganda against the system”, of having “disturbed the security” of the country, “cooperated with states hostile to the Islamic Republic” and “incitement to violence”.

Foreign artists then gave him their support, fearing that he would be sentenced to death.

“Toomaj is the only Iranian rapper who speaks about the working classes and the disadvantaged. His lyrics are political and very beautiful. He is a poet whose words do not call for violence but they call for awakening,” said France 24 the famous author of “Persepolis”, Marjane Satrapi, who campaigned for the release of the artist. “He has become a symbol for an entire country. The release of Toomaj would mean the freedom of speech in Iran,” she stressed.

One of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi’s music videos

Tortured in prison

In April, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), based in New York, sounded the alarm about the state of health of the Iranian rapper who needed “emergency” medical treatment.

The rapper had been “severely tortured” the first days following his arrest: his left eye was seriously injured by blows to the head and his right ankle was broken, a source – not cited for security reasons – had confided to the CHRI.

Several hundred people, including members of the security forces, were killed and thousands arrested during protests held in October and November 2022 in Iran, before ebbing. Seven men were executed for their involvement in this movement.

With AFP

Source: France 24

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