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Politics

Alarm Raised Over Jailed Iranian Rapper’s Fate

November 23, 2022
Akhtar Safi
1 min read
The artist has released songs in support of the ongoing nationwide protests demanding more freedoms and women's rights, and posted pictures and videos of himself during demonstrations.
The artist has released songs in support of the ongoing nationwide protests demanding more freedoms and women's rights, and posted pictures and videos of himself during demonstrations.

Fear is growing over the fate of jailed Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, after his Twitter account said he might be accused of “enmity against God", a charge that carries a death sentence.

Salehi, who has long made music with political themes, was arrested on October 30. He is said to have been subjected to “severe torture” at the hands of the clerical regime while in solitary confinement.

The artist had released songs in support of the ongoing nationwide protests demanding more freedoms and women's rights, and posted pictures and videos of himself during demonstrations.

Salehi’s Twitter account, which has been run by one of his relatives since his arrest, said the rapper had been denied a lawyer of his choice.

"Accusing an artist who has done nothing else but reflect the voice of the people of enmity against God shows how criminal the corrupt ruling gang is," the tweet said.

The semiofficial ISNA news agency has claimed that Salehi was arrested while trying to flee the country, which people close to the rapper deny.

In his only phone call to his family after his arrest, Salehi said he had one of his ankles broken in custody while being beaten by intelligence forces.

Iran has been gripped by protests since the September death of a 22-year-old woman in the custody of morality police.

The unrest triggered a heavy-handed crackdown by security forces in which more than 378 people were killed, including dozens of children, according to one human rights group. Thousands of people have also been arrested.

At least six people have so far been sentenced to death over the protests.

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