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Iran has officially sentenced a popular Iranian rapper to death following his involvement in the 2022-23 protests. 

Toomaj Salehi, a well-known figure in Iran’s music scene, faced charges from a revolutionary court in Isfahan for his active support of the demonstrations ignited by the tragic death of Mahsa Amini. Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman, died in police custody after being arrested for allegedly violating hijab regulations, sparking widespread unrest across the country.

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Initially detained in October 2022, Salehi became a vocal advocate for the protestors through his music and public statements. His legal battle took a severe turn when the Isfahan Revolutionary Court overturned a previous Supreme Court decision. This earlier ruling had spared him from the death penalty, sentencing him instead to six years and three months in prison. However, in a surprising reversal, the court imposed the death sentence. 

In an interview with Amir Raisian, Salehi’s lawyer, said, “Branch One of the Revolutionary Court of Isfahan, in an unprecedented move, did not enforce the Supreme Court’s ruling …. and sentenced Salehi to the harshest punishment. We will definitely appeal this verdict.”

International reactions have came in, with the US Office of the Special Envoy for Iran saying, “This sentence is an example of the regime’s brutal abuse of its own citizens, disregard for human rights, and fear of the democratic change the Iranian people seek.”


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