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Business News/ News / World/  Who is Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi? Why has he been sentenced to death? Explained

Who is Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi? Why has he been sentenced to death? Explained

Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi faces death sentence for his role in 2022-23 unrest after Mahsa Amini's death due to police brutality. Salehi supported protests with his songs and was sentenced to six years in prison last year, escaping death penalty initially

Rapper Toomaj Salehi is facing death sentence for charges linked to Iran's 2022-23 unrest,Premium
Rapper Toomaj Salehi is facing death sentence for charges linked to Iran's 2022-23 unrest,

Well-known Iranian rapper, Toomaj Salehi, is facing death sentence for his role in the 2022-23 unrest after the death of Mahsa Amini due to police brutality. The famous rapper was executed for his protest lyrics and social media posts, reported Bloomberg citing the reformist Shargh newspaper.

Also Read: EU honours Mahsa Amini, whose death triggered protests against Iran's Islamic theocracy

The 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman was first arrested for allegedly wearing an ‘improper’ hijab, after which she died in police custody. Mahasa Amini's death sparked nationwide protests which were later expanded to protests across the world in support of women protesting hijab. Nearly two years after the protest, Toomaj Salehi has been sentenced by Iranian revolutionary court for his alleged role in the 2022-23 unrest.

Who is Toomaj Salehi?

The well-known Iranian rapper, Salehi supporte the protests in Iran, which lasted for months in 2022, with his songs. He was initially arrested in October 22 after he made public statements in support of the protest. Later, he was sentenced in 2023 to six years and three months in prison. At that time, he managed to escape the death sentence after a Supreme Court ruling in the case. Now that the Iranian judiciary has awarded him death sentence, he still has the option of sentence reduction. 

Also Read: Iran security forces 'open fire' as thousands mourn Mahsa Amini

"Branch One of the Revolutionary Court of (the central city of) Isfahan in an unprecedented move, did not enforce the Supreme Court's ruling .... and sentenced Salehi to the harshest punishment," his lawyer Amir Raisian told Sharq.

Toomaj Salehi's death sentence has been disapproved by the US Office of the Special Envoy for Iran. In its latest post on X, the US Office of the Special Envoy called the Iranian judiciary an example "of the regime’s brutal abuse of its own citizens, disregard for human rights, and fear of the democratic change the Iranian people seek."

Charges on Toomaj Salehi that led to his death sentence 

According to media reports, Salehi has been accused of assisting “sedition, assembly and collusion, propaganda against the system and calling for riots" by the Revolutionary Court. According to the initial accusations against Salehi, he was charged for spreading "lies on the internet" and "propaganda against the state" as well as inciting people to violence and "having formed and managed illegal groups with the aim of disrupting security in cooperation with a government hostile" to Iran.

Another singer, Mehdi Yarrahi, who supported the protest movement and criticised the mandatory dress rules for women was sentenced to a total of two years and eight months in prison.

Nationwide protest against Mahsa Amini's death 

Mahsa Amini's death on September 16, 2022, sparked nationwide protests with hundreds of people killed including dozens of security personnel. Despite the protest was lablled as ‘riots’ by the Iranian government, it received huge support by foreign countries.  Nine men have been executed in protest-related cases involving killings and other violence against security forces.

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Published: 25 Apr 2024, 02:25 PM IST
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