Ye-One Rhie, a German lawmaker and political sponsor of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, has issued an urgent call for his release after his second arrest.
In a conversation with Iran International, Rhie expressed deep concern about Salehi's well-being, emphasizing the lack of information about his whereabouts.
Toomaj Salehi, 33, was apprehended by plainclothes individuals on a street in Babol, northern Iran, on Thursday. He was reportedly subjected to severe physical abuse during the arrest, including beatings with the butts of AK-47 rifles and pistols, as reported on his social media page.
Rhie underscored the Iranian regime's fear of Salehi's message, stating, “The fact that he was taken again shows the Iranian regime is very, very afraid of him and what kind of message he's sending to all those people who are unhappy, who are not satisfied with how the country is going, how Iran is developing.”
Salehi had previously spent over a year in prison, with 252 days in solitary confinement, before being released on bail on November 18th. Following his re-arrest, social media erupted with a trending campaign, garnering over 75,000 mentions of Toomaj Salehi on various platforms.
Rhie concluded by demanding answers from the Iranian authorities, stating, “I am very positive that Salehi is such a man that the Iranian regime will not be able to break him at all and not to break his spirits. I'm demanding answers as I wrote to the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Berlin, to tell me where he is.”
Salehi gained prominence for his protest songs addressing social issues and government injustices in Iran. His initial arrest in October 2022 was part of a broader crackdown on political opponents of the regime. Rhie urged the dropping of all accusations, sentences, and the release of Salehi and other political prisoners, emphasizing the injustice of their detention.