Chief Justice of Iran’s Esfahan province says dissident popular rap singer Toomaj Salehi has been accused of “corruption on earth” which may carry the death penalty for him.
Asadollah Jafari on Sunday said Toomaj Salehi faces other charges, including “propaganda activity against the establishment, forming an illegal group with the intention of disrupting the security of the country, cooperating with hostile governments, and spreading lies and inciting others to commit violence.”
However, Jafari said no court has been held for the rap singer yet. Toomaj Salehi was detained in late October after criticizing the Islamic Republic and expressing solidarity with the protest movement after the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody.
This comes as sixteen UN-appointed independent human rights experts urged the Iranian government to stop using the death penalty as a tool to punish protesters.
A US-based human rights group said on Saturday that Toomaj Salehi's trial had begun “without an attorney of his choice,” and his family said his “life is in danger.”
Earlier this month, 126 musicians, poets, artists, and activists called for his release.
Salehi’s arrest came shortly after his interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, saying that “You are dealing with a mafia that is ready to kill the entire nation... in order to keep its power, money and weapons.”
In his politically charged songs such as “Buy a Rat Hole”(2021), Toomaj, a 32-year-old metalworker in Esfahan, spoke out against repression, injustice, poverty, and authorities’ own corruption and impunity from prosecution.