Less than two weeks after being released on bail, popular Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi finds himself back in prison.
Authorities have arrested him on new charges, including “spreading lies and violation of public opinion,” as reported by Mizanonline.ir an Iranian news outlet affiliated with the judiciary.
Previous Imprisonment Linked to Music and Protest Participation:
Salehi had spent over a year in custody before his mid-November release, facing charges that supporters argued were connected to his music and involvement in protests flashed by the death of Mahsa Amini, 22.
Amini died while in the custody of Iran’s morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab too loosely.
Earlier this week, Salehi shared a video message alleging torture following his October 2022 arrest. State media had previously released a video showing him blindfolded, issuing an apology—an act believed to be made under duress.
Legal Proceedings and Appeal:
In July, a court sentenced Salehi to over six years in prison. Recently, his appeal led to his release on bail after the Supreme Court sent the case back to a lower court. The rapper’s legal journey reflects Iran’s complex nature of dissent and artistic expression.
Crackdown on Protests and Human Rights Concerns:
The protests triggered by Mahsa Amini’s death resulted in a sweeping crackdown in Tehran, leading to nearly 20,000 arrests.
While the protests have subsided, concerns persist over human rights violations, including the execution of eight individuals accused of attacking security forces.
Rights groups criticize the secretive court proceedings, alleging a denial of the right to a fair defense for those convicted.
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