A court in Iran has sentenced popular Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi to six years and three months in prison on the charge of "corruption on Earth" over his support for protests that rocked the country last year, his lawyer says.
Roza Etemad Ansari told Shargh newspaper on July 10 that Salehi was “cleared of the charges related to insulting the revolution's founder and the leadership, and to engaging in communication with hostile nations."
"He will be prohibited from leaving the country for a period of two years, and his passport will be revoked starting from the date the verdict becomes final,” Ansari said. “In addition, he is banned from engaging in any music-related activities…for the same time period. Toomaj is also required to attend behavior management and knowledge and skills enhancement courses organized by the Isfahan Prosecutor's Office for Social Affairs and Crime Prevention for two years."
The lawyer said that his client was transferred to the general ward of Isfahan Central Prison after spending 252 days in solitary confinement.
Ye-One Rhie, a member of the German parliament who has campaigned on Salehi’s behalf, reacted to the sentencing by posting a tweet reading: “The verdict for #ToomajSalehi: 6 years and 3 months in prison. That's 6 years and 3 months too many. He did not commit any of the crimes he was accused of.”
The verdict for #ToomajSalehi: 6 years and 3 months in prison. That's 6 years and 3 months too many. He did not commit any of the crimes he was accused of. #FreeToomaj! Release him from solitary confinement. I still demand to see and speak to him myself to know how he is doing. https://t.co/VNhb9LCwSP— Ye-One Rhie (@YeOne_Rhie) July 10, 2023
There was no immediate word from Iranian authorities.
Salehi had his second and last court hearing in his closed-door trial on July 2. He is said to have been subjected to “severe torture” at the hands of his jailers while in solitary confinement since his arrest on November 30.
The artist was arrested amid anti-government demonstrations that erupted following the September 2022 death of Mahsa Amini while she was in police custody for allegedly flouting the Islamic Republic’s mandatory headscarf rules.
Salehi had released songs in support of the demonstrations demanding more freedoms and women's rights, and posted pictures and videos of himself during protests.
More than 520 people have been killed in the security forces’ clampdown on the women-led protest movement and over 19,000 have been unlawfully detained, activists say. Following biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.