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Iran sentences rapper to death amidst protest crackdown

Iran sentences rapper to death amidst protest crackdown
By Yagiz Efe Parmaksiz
Apr 24, 2024 8:16 PM

Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi is sentenced to death for his support of protests following the death of Mahsa Amini, whose death allegedly due to a breach of Iran’s strict dress code for women

In a contentious move amid ongoing social upheaval, an Iranian court sentenced popular rapper Toomaj Salehi on Wednesday to death for his vocal support of nationwide protests triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman. Amini’s tragic demise while in custody, allegedly due to a breach of Iran’s strict dress code for women, ignited widespread demonstrations across the nation.

Salehi’s lawyer, Amir Raisian, confirmed the sentence, highlighting the court’s independence in not adhering to the Supreme Court’s ruling. Raisian vowed to appeal against the verdict, citing legal conflicts and contradictions with the Supreme Court’s decision. “The fact is that the verdict of the court has clear legal conflicts,” Raisian stated, emphasizing the irregularity of the ruling.

“The contradiction with the ruling of the Supreme Court is considered the most important and at the same time the strangest part of this ruling,” Raisian added, echoing concerns over the fairness of Salehi’s trial.

Salehi’s arrest in Oct. 2022, following his public endorsement of the protests, marked a pivotal moment in Iran’s crackdown on dissent. The Revolutionary Court accused Salehi of various charges, including “assistance in sedition, assembly and collusion, propaganda against the system and calling for riots.”

Despite being granted bail in Nov. 2022, Salehi was swiftly rearrested, signaling the government’s uncompromising stance on dissent. Mehdi Yarrahi, another singer who supported the protest movement and criticized Iran’s mandatory dress rules for women, received a prison sentence of two years and eight months.

The protests that erupted following Amini’s death in Sept. 2022 resulted in significant casualties and mass arrests. Iranian authorities labeled the demonstrations as “riots” and attributed them to foreign interference.

In response to the unrest, Iranian authorities have intensified enforcement of the hijab dress code for women. Police in Tehran launched a campaign dubbed “Noor,” deploying patrol vans in main squares to enforce the dress code. 

Source: AFP

Last Updated:  Jun 3, 2024 4:45 PM