Toomaj Salehi

Supreme Court Overturns Death Sentence of Toomaj Salehi

Saturday, 06/22/2024

Iran’s Supreme Court has overturned the death sentence of jailed Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi that had shocked millions of Iranians and human rights defenders, as well as politicians in the West.

“The Supreme Court avoided an irreparable judicial error. The death sentence of Toomaj Salehi was overturned and based on the appeal decision of the 39th branch of the Supreme Court, the case will be referred to the parallel branch for consideration,” Salehi’s lawyer, Amir Raisian wrote on X.

Salehi was sentenced to death by a revolutionary court in Esfahan in April this year on charges of "spreading corruption on Earth."

Reisian, in an interview with Shargh, stated that the Supreme Court overturned the verdict arguing that the sentence of 6 years and 3 months was issued during the court proceedings for Salehi, so any sentence harsher in the subsequent stages of the trial is inconsistent with the law.

"The Supreme Court suggested that even the previous sentence" had been issued "without adhering to laws," Reisian said referring to the initial jail term issued before the death sentence.

Mostafa Nili, another lawyer for Salehi, in a separate interview mentioned that the Supreme Court also pointed out that two criminal charges have been considered for a single act.

For instance, Salehi has been convicted for spreading lies online and offline and that’s against the penal law, Nili said.

Salehi, the 2024 Václav Havel International Award laureate, has faced a tumultuous legal battle in Iran since his arrest multiple times by security forces, notably in October 2022 for supporting nationwide protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality police.

Initially sentenced to 6 years and three months in July 2023, Salehi was granted bail on November 18, 2023. However, less than two weeks later, the 32-year-old dissident rapper was re-arrested on new charges of "publishing falsehoods" after releasing a video detailing his torture experiences in custody, as reported by Raisian.

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