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An Iranian court issued a death sentence to a popular rapper who was jailed for over a year after backing nationwide protests.

On Wednesday (April 24), rapper Toomaj Salehi was sentenced to death by a court in Iran for his support of protests that swept through the country two years ago, according to his lawyer. Branch 1 of Isfahan Revolutionary Court… sentenced Toomaj Salehi to death on the charge of corruption on Earth,” Salem’s lawyer Amir Raisian said in a statement, adding “that in an unprecedented move, emphasized its independence and did not implement the Supreme Court’s ruling”. Salehi had been imprisoned in Isfahan in solitary confinement after reportedly being violently rearrested by Iranian police last year for 252 days, according to a report from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). 

The rapper has been highly critical of the Revolutionary Government in the past and was initially arrested in October 2022 for “assistance in sedition, assembly and collusion, propaganda against the system and calling for riots” after protests over the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini the month before. Amini, 22, was an Iranian-Kurdish woman who had been detained for allegedly flouting the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women. Raisian stated that “We will certainly appeal against the sentence”. Iranian state media reported that Salehi’s sentence would be subject to a reduction by a pardoning committee upon appeal. Kurdish-Iranian rapper Saman Yasin was also detained by Iranian police and given a prison sentence after the protests.

The news prompted multiple expressions of outrage. “We strongly condemn Toomaj Salehi’s death sentence and the five-year sentence for Kurdish-Iranian rapper Saman Yasin. We call for their immediate release,” the United States’ Office of the Special Envoy for Iran said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “These are the latest examples of the regime’s brutal abuse of its own citizens, disregard for human rights, and fear of the democratic change the Iranian people seek.”

Ye-One Rhie, a member of the German Parliament and Salehi’s sponsor, also called for Salehi’s release. “It is still completely unclear how this verdict came about,” she posted on X on Wednesday. “It is unbelievable how irresponsibly and arbitrarily the Iranian regime treats defendants. It is impossible to recognize the rule of law in the chaos of the courts in charge.”

Rapper Sentenced To Death By Iranian Court For Backing Mahsa Amini Protests  was originally published on

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