Daily news
September 27, 2023

Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi sentenced to six years in prison, avoiding death penalty

Toomaj Salehi, an Iranian rapper widely regarded as one of the most influential hip-hop artists in Iran, has been sentenced by an Iranian court to six years in prison. The sentence is a lighter punishment than what was originally sought, which included the death penalty. According to the semi-official Mehr News Agency, Salehi was charged with committing acts against national security, propagating against the state, and insulting religious figures which is illegal in Iran. Salehi was initially arrested in May 2019 in Tehran but it was not until October 2019 that he was formally charged and sentenced. The rapper has become a symbol of dissent in Iran and his case has widely been seen as a test of the nation's commitment to freedom of speech and artistic expression. Despite the six-year sentence, Salehi's supporters are celebrating the fact that the lighter punishment avoids the death penalty and instead allows him to serve his time before being released. Many of his supporters have pointed to the fact that Salehi has been critical of both the Iranian government and its religious leaders, as well as its repressive policies. At the same time, they have condemned the continued persecution of artists who are targeted for their outspoken views and activism.