Toomaj Salehi: Iran sentences ‘world’s bravest rapper’ to death

Salehi was initially arrested in October 2022 and has been described as ‘the world’s bravest rapper’

Parisa Hafezi
Wednesday 24 April 2024 16:28 BST
Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi
Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi (@OfficialToomaj/X)

An Iranian court has sentenced well-known Iranian hip-hop star Toomaj Salehi to death for charges linked to Iran’s 2022-23 unrest, his lawyer told and Iranian newspaper Sharq on Wednesday.

Salehi supported months of protests in Iran in 2022 sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman arrested for allegedly wearing an “improper” hijab.

Amini later died in the custody of the country’s morality police after being detained for wearing her hijab too loosely.

Salehi was initially arrested in October 2022 after making public statements in support of the nationwide protests.

He wrote raps about the protests and posted pictures and videos online. He has been described as the world’s bravest rapper by Western media.

He was sentenced in 2023 to six years and three months in prison, but avoided a death sentence due to a Supreme Court ruling.

His case was returned to court for reexamination and the musician then faced new charges after discussing torture in prison in a video.

Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi on his YouTube channel
Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi on his YouTube channel (Toomaj/YouTube)

“Branch One of the Revolutionary Court of (the central city of) Isfahan in an unprecedented move, did not enforce the Supreme Court’s ruling .... and sentenced Salehi to the harshest punishment,” his lawyer Amir Raisian told Sharq.

Iranian judiciary has not confirmed the sentence yet. Salehi has 20 days to appeal the ruling.

“We will definitely appeal this verdict,” his lawyer said.

Earlier this year authorities in Iran sentenced an uncle of Mahsa Amini to more than five years in prison for anti-government comments during protests following his Iranian-Kurdish niece’s death.

Amini’s death in police custody in 2022 sparked nationwide protests that rocked the Islamic Republic and led to the killing of more than 500 people.

Safa Aeli, 30, was handed a five year and four-month-long sentence in prison by the revolutionary court in north-western Iran’s Saqez town on charges of “participation in a gathering and conspiracy against internal security”, “propaganda against the system” and “insulting” Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Mr Aeli was previously arrested by security forces in a raid on his home in September 2023, shortly before the first anniversary of Amini’s death.

He was “brutally assaulted” for 42 days before being released on bail, according to Norway-based Hengaw group.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in