Iranian Rapper Tomaj Salehi Sentenced to Death for 'Sedition' and 'Propaganda Against the System'

Iranian rapper Tomaj Salehi sentenced to death for criticizing the government's suppression of dissent, sparking international condemnation and a social media campaign for his release.

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Iranian Rapper Tomaj Salehi Sentenced to Death for 'Sedition' and 'Propaganda Against the System'

Iranian Rapper Tomaj Salehi Sentenced to Death for 'Sedition' and 'Propaganda Against the System'

Iranian rapper Tomaj Salehi has been sentenced to death by an Iranian court on charges of "corruption on Earth" for his music that criticized the Iranian government and its suppression of dissent. The Revolutionary Court in Isfahan issued the death sentence, despite the Supreme Court's ruling to "remove the flaws in the sentence".

Salehi, 33, was initially arrested in October 2022 after publicly supporting the nationwide protests that erupted following the death of Mahsa Amini in September 2022. He spent over a year in prison, including 252 days in solitary confinement. The court also imposed additional penalties, including a two-year travel ban and a prohibition on engaging in artistic activities.

Salehi's lawyer, Amir Raisian, stated that the sentence contradicts an Iranian Supreme Court ruling that said Salehi's case qualified for amnesty. Raisian said they will appeal the verdict, as it has "clear legal conflicts".

UN experts have demanded Salehi's immediate release, stating that "criticism of government policy through artistic expression is protected under the rights to freedom of expression and cultural rights." They are alarmed by the imposition of the death sentence and the alleged ill-treatment of Salehi, which appears to be solely related to the exercise of his artistic freedom.

Why this matters: Salehi's case highlights the Iranian government's ongoing crackdown on dissent and artistic expression. The sentencing of a prominent rapper to death for his music has drawn international condemnation and raised concerns about human rights violations in Iran.

Despite the regime's crackdown, Salehi's sentence has drawn a wave of support from across the Iranian music world, with other artists demanding his unconditional release. The Center for Human Rights in Iran has condemned the death sentence as an "unlawful and unjust" manipulation of the judicial process to "silence dissent". Supporters of the jailed dissident rapper have launched a social media campaign to bring attention to his case, saying he is at risk of execution.

Key Takeaways

  • Iranian rapper Tomaj Salehi sentenced to death for criticizing govt.
  • Salehi arrested in 2022 for supporting protests over Mahsa Amini's death.
  • Sentence contradicts Iranian Supreme Court ruling for amnesty.
  • UN experts demand Salehi's release, citing violation of artistic freedom.
  • Salehi's case highlights Iran's crackdown on dissent and artistic expression.