Amnesty International Calls for Quashing the Convictions of 3 Artists

Posted on: 2nd March, 2016
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Amnesty International

HRANA News Agency – Amnesty International has called for quashing the convictions including financial fines of the 3 convicted artists. Two musicians Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi, and a filmmaker Hossein Rajabian have been each sentenced to 6 years in prison and financial fines.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Amnesty International has called on the Iranian authorities to quash the convictions of Mehdi Rajabian, Hossein Rajabian and Yousef Emadi as they arise solely from the men’s peaceful exercise of their rights of freedom of expression and association through music and film.

Amnesty International also have reminded Iranian authorities that Iran is a state party of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and needs to respect Articles 19 and 22 of this covenant, and to protect the right of freedoms of expression and association.

In the mentioned report Amnesty international has expressed concerns that Revolutionary Court hearings continue to be seriously flawed and do not meet international fair trial standards.

Amnesty international has announced: “Iranian filmmaker Hossein Rajabian and musicians Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi have each been sentenced to six years in prison, in connection with their artistic work. They have appealed their sentences. If jailed, they will be prisoners of conscience.”

On 22nd December, The court of appeal was held at branch number 54 of the appeal court with chief judge Babai for Mehdi Rajabian, the setarist and founder of the website Barg Music, Hossein Rajabian independent Filmmaker and Photographer, and Yousef Emadi Musician.

These 3 artists had no access to a lawyer at any stage of their arrest, detention, trial or appeal, and at their appeal hearing they were told by the judge that having a lawyer was “pointless” and that they would have to offer full explanations by themselves. Their confessions were used as an evidence against them, despite them emphasizing that the confessions were obtained under pressure.

On 26 April 2015, Hossein Rajabian, Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi were tried at branch number 28 of the revolutionary court which sentenced them each to six years of imprisonment and financial fines under charges of “insulting Islamic sanctities” and “spreading propaganda against the system”.

An informed source has told the HRANA’s reporter: “The trial has only lasted few minutes and the presence of a lawyer wouldn’t have made any sense and the appeal court has not given them any chance to defend themselves.”

On 5th October 2013, Hossein Rajabian, Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi were arrested at their office in the northern city of Sari, Mazandaran Province. They were held at an unknown location for 18 days, where they were ill-treated, harassed, and tortured including electric shocks. They were then transferred to the solitary confinement of ward 2-A of Evin Prison, which is under supervision of the revolutionary guards.

After Enduring 2 months of solitary confinement and interrogations at Ward 2-A under supervision of the revolutionary guards, they were released on 200 million Rial Bail.

As an informed source mentioned, they were pressured into making televised confessions during the interrogations, and their interrogators have threaten them with life in prison if they would fail to do so.

Apparently, Barg Music was the only distributer and introducer of new genre and alternative music in Iran. Barg Music in its five years of activity (from 2009 to 2014) has exclusively been the publisher of more than 100 albums and thousands of single tracks of alternative music.

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