Abbas Nikravan, a traditional musician from West Azerbaijan province, has been sentenced to three months in prison by Branch 102 of Salmas Criminal Court on the charge of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran in cyberspace”.
The singer and philanthropist, who hails from the village of Nadarli in Shabestar county, was arrested by security forces on September 5 last year over his online civic activism. He was taken to Urmia Central Prison and held for more than two weeks before being released on a 600 million toman bail on September 21.
He has now been sentenced to 91 days in prison, deducting the days spent in jail last September. The initial charges against him, later dropped, also included "disturbing the public mind" and "membership of opposition groups”.
It is currently not known exactly what online activity led to Nikravan’s arrest. But the musician has been detained several times in the past, including in July 2018 on the day of an annual gathering at Babak Castle, East Azerbaijan. The historic fortress has a symbolic importance for Azeri-speaking Iranians and due to the patriotic overtones of the event, the Islamic Republic always seeks to disrupt it.
In February 2015, security forces also intervened to cancel a three-day music event organized by Nikravan in support of homeless children and cancer patients’ charities.