Wednesday , 25 May 2022

Dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi sentenced to prison and fine

Iran-HRM – Toomaj Salehi, a dissident rap artist said that a court has handed down a fine and six months suspended imprisonment for him on charges of “insulting the leadership and propaganda against the regime.”

Dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi

He did not elaborate on his sentence in a tweet he posted on January 24, but wrote that his prison sentence is suspended for a year.

Earlier this week, Salehi’s lawyer said that he was charged with “spreading propaganda against the state.” It is a vague charge often brought against activists, intellectuals, and dissenters.

Attorney Amir Raeisian told the news site Rouydad24 on September 20 that the charge had been “informally” announced to Salehi’s father.

In his lyrics Toomaj Salehi criticizes the Iranian regime’s repression and injustice. He gained fans among Iranians who are angry at the regime’s policies.

In one of his songs, Normal, he refers to Iran’s crumbling economy, which is emblematic of the regime’s long-running mismanagement.

Rapping in the Farsi language, he says:

“Here people are only alive. They don’t have a life. Our children sleep hungry at night. Excuse me, but how does your conscience sleep at night?”

Salehi was arrested on September 13, after a dozen security agents raided his home in the central Iranian city of Isfahan and was taken to an unknown location.

The rapper was released on bail on September 21 amid widespread condemnation of his arrest by his supporters and by rights groups.

Amnesty International said that Salehi was targeted “solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression.”

Iran’s authorities must immediately and unconditionally release #TomajSalehi, a dissident rap artist detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression. In his songs, he spoke out against repression, corruption, poverty and impunity & called for accountability.— Amnesty Iran (@AmnestyIran) September 17, 2021