Iranian dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi

Iran-Iraq War Veterans Urge Government to Spare Rapper's Life

Friday, 05/03/2024

Hundreds of the Iran-Iraq war veterans and their families have launched an appeal to the leaders of the Islamic Republic, urging them not to execute Toomaj Salehi, a protest song rapper.

An open letter, signed by over 460 individuals, criticized the Iranian government's lack of accountability and its tendency to suppress dissent through intimidation and terror, highlighting the "shameful death sentence for a young protesting artist."

The signatories also made a plea to the government to halt its oppressive treatment of Iranian women forced to comply with mandatory hijab and to refrain from further threatening and intimidating the nation's youth.

Salehi, a vocal figure in the 2022 protests ignited by the death of Mahsa Amini in morality police custody, has been a supporter of protesters, detainees, and political activists. Arrested shortly after the protests began, Salehi faced an initial sentence of over six years in prison. However, in a move by a judge in Isfahan, his sentence was escalated to the death penalty, bypassing the usual legal procedures expected to reduce his term upon appeal.

Salehi's death sentence has triggered a global outcry, continuing to draw international attention and protest.

In a recent development, scores of French and Iranian artists, writers, athletes, and activists have reached out to French President Emmanuel Macron, soliciting his influence to help overturn the execution order. The collective voice of the diverse groups underscores a significant global concern over human rights practices in Iran, particularly regarding freedom of expression and the treatment of political dissidents.

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