Iranian dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi. File photo

Imprisoned Iranian Rapper Stands Trial Again

Saturday, 03/16/2024

Iranian dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi has been tried on charges of “disseminating falsehoods” and “calling for violence,” according to a post on his X account on Saturday.

During the court session which was held virtually, no legal or factual justification was provided against Salehi, the report said, further adding that the session ended with his “strong defense of his positions.”

If the court acts independently, the verdict can only be the acquittal and freedom of the imprisoned rapper, stressed his post on X, run by an appointed manager.

Salehi, 33, was arrested on November 30, 2023, just under two weeks after being released on bail following a year in custody for his involvement in supporting the 2022 nationwide protests, triggered by the death in morality-police custody of Mahsa Amini.

He was snatched off the street in the northern city of Babol in Mazandaran province by security officers in plainclothes who assaulted him with the butts of their pistols and AK-47 rifles.

As the regime continues to battle dissenting voices, prominent figures such as Salehi have been punished harshly, with many receiving jail time, travel bans and bans on working, to deter the public from further protests.

The singer rose to prominence for his protest songs addressing social issues and government injustices in Iran.

Activists inside Iran and abroad have been actively campaigning for his release, with a number of figures in Western nations championing his cause.

In October 2023, Salehi received the 2023 Arts Freedom of Expression Award from Index on Censorship, an organization promoting free expression.

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