Protest Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s One-Year Sentence Upheld on Appeal

The Appeals Court of Isfahan Province has upheld the one-year sentence for protest singer Toomaj Salehi, as reported by ILNA.

Amir Raisian, Salehi’s lawyer, revealed that the Court of Appeal dismissed their complaint against the initial verdict, rendering it final. Despite this setback, Raisian announced plans to pursue a retrial based on Article 477 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Salehi’s conviction for “propaganda against the regime” comes with additional consequences, including a two-year travel ban, the revocation of his passport, and mandatory participation in behavior management and knowledge skills programs.

Furthermore, Raisian clarified that this verdict is connected to a legal case initiated this year, stemming from the publication of a photo by Salehi.

He emphasized that Salehi faces an even greater challenge from a separate legal case dating back two years. On January 21, 2024, the Public and Revolutionary Courthouse of Isfahan indicted Salehi on multiple charges, including Baghi, an accusation of armed rebellion that carries the potential for severe punishment, including execution. In response, Raisian, expressed concerns about due process, labeling it as “unusual,” “illegal,” and “peculiar.” The Criminal Court has undertaken another part of this legal, adding more legal challenges to this protest rapper.

Kamal Babaie’s Arrest in Isfahan Raises Concerns

On January 27, 2024, security forces apprehended Kamal Babaie in Isfahan, placing him in Dastgerd Prison.

According to a source close to Babaie’s family, he was arrested and confined to prison at a time when his physical well-being was reportedly not suitable for incarceration.

The motives behind Babaie’s arrest and the charges against him remain undisclosed. The circumstances surrounding his detention raise concerns about the transparency and justification of the arrest.

Workers’ Rights Defender Mostafa Zamani Arrested in Isfahan

Mostafa Zamani, an advocate for workers’ rights and a resident of Izeh, was arrested on January 14, 2024, by security forces in Isfahan. The Independent Iranian Workers Union (IIWU) reported his arrest and subsequent transfer to an undisclosed location.

The arrest allegedly took place within the premises of Isfahan Oil Refinery, yet the reasons behind his detention and his current location remain undisclosed.

Zamani, known for his advocacy of workers’ rights, is also employed as a welding worker.

As HRA’s annual report reveals, in 2023, 64 workers’ rights advocates were arrested by security forces in Iran. Additionally, 29 labor activists or defenders of workers’ rights were sentenced to 654 months of imprisonment, which includes 568 months of actual imprisonment and 86 months of suspended imprisonment. These alarming statistics underscore the challenging environment faced by those advocating for labor rights in the country.

Protest Rapper Toomaj Salehi Receives One-Year Sentence and Additional Penalties

In the latest development, Toomaj Salehi, the renowned Iranian protest rapper, has been sentenced to one year by the Revolutionary Court. Additionally, he faces a two-year travel ban, the annulment of his passport, and is required to participate in behavior management and knowledge skills programs.

Revealing the verdict publicly, Amir Raisian, Salehi’s lawyer, expressed concern over the due process, labeling it as “unusual,” “illegal,” and “peculiar.” Raisian asserted that the court session concluded without prior notice to Salehi and in the absence of his attorney.

Salehi was re-arrested in Babol on November 30, twelve days after his release on bail from Dastgerd Prison in Isfahan. The Judiciary spokesperson cited Salehi’s statement after his release as the grounds for this subsequent arrest.

In late October 2022, Salehi was initially detained by security forces during nationwide protests. Subsequently, the Isfahan Revolutionary Court sentenced him to six years and three months in prison along with additional penalties. However, he was released on bail after the Supreme Court overturned the verdict.

It is worth noting that the protest singer already has a prior conviction in a separate legal case. On January 12, 2022, he was sentenced to a six-month prison term and fined, with the imprisonment suspended for one year.

Execution of Four Inmates Takes Place in Qom, Khorramabad, and Isfahan for Drug Offenses

Recently, four individuals on death row were executed in prisons located in Qom, Khorramabad, and Isfahan.

On December 12, Sajjad Haghi Zadeh, 37, was executed in Khorramabad Prison for drug offenses. Haghi Zadeh had been sentenced to death three years ago.

Vahid Haji Pour, 40, another inmate convicted of drug offenses two years ago, was executed in Isfahan Prison on December 13, as reported by the Iran Human Rights Organization.

In Qom Prison, two inmates faced execution for drug-related crimes. On December 12, 38-year-old Bahram Seyed Zadeh, a father of one, and on December 15, Davoud Brahui (Brahooie), 41, father of four, were both executed.

At the time of writing, no official sources or domestic media outlets within the country have reported on these executions.

According to data compiled by the Center of Statistics of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA), between October 10, 2022, and October 8, 2023, a total of 659 individuals were executed by hanging in Iran, representing a 24% increase compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. Seven of these executions were conducted publicly. Concerningly, many of the defendants were denied access to a fair trial and due process. For details and statistics, read HRANA’s report.

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Protest Singer Toomaj Salehi Faces Re-Arrest

On November 30, 2023, protest rapper Toomaj Salehi experienced a renewed arrest in Babol by security forces, taken to an undisclosed location despite his recent release on bail from Dastgerd Prison, Isfahan, on November 18.

The apprehension unfolded on a Babol street using violence by the agents, leaving the grounds for his arrest and his current location shrouded in uncertainty.

This influential protest rapper was granted bail on November 18 from Dastgerd Prison in Isfahan, after the Supreme Court overturned his verdict. According to Amir Raisian, Salehi’s lawyer, Branch 39 of the Supreme Court reviewed Salehi’s case, identified defects in the indictment, and subsequently annulled the previous verdict. Consequently, the case was returned to the Isfahan Revolutionary Court. “Salehi, benefiting from a general pardon, should have been released without the need for bail,” his lawyer asserted.

In July of this year, Salehi received a six-year and three-month sentence, along with a travel ban, a prohibition on music production, and mandatory participation in behavior management and knowledge skills courses for two years.

In late October 2022, Salehi was detained by security forces during nationwide protests. Despite official media claims of his attempt to leave the country illegally, individuals close to Salehi contested this narrative.

It is noteworthy that the protest singer has a prior conviction in a separate legal case. On January 12, 2022, he was sentenced to a six-month prison term and fined, with the imprisonment suspended for one year.

Tourism Professionals Niloofar Ghazaleh and Mohammad-Ali Moghimi Arrested in Isfahan

Niloofar Ghazaleh and Mohammad-Ali Moghimi (Rahab), a couple actively involved in the tourism industry, found themselves in the custody of security forces in Isfahan.

The arrests were carried out under the directive of Judge Mohsen PourBafrani, who presides over the jurisdiction of Khur and Biabanak County.

At present, the specific reasons for their arrests, their current location, and the charges lodged against them remain undisclosed.
Moghimi is the head of the Union of Tourism Cooperative Companies in Isfahan Province. It is worth noting that Ghazaleh had previously received a five-year prison sentence for “publishing photos without hijab.” Additionally, their tourist accommodation in Khur has faced the brunt of PourBafrani’s orders.

This development coincides with recent efforts by the regime to enforce hijab regulations, leading to the closure of thousands of businesses for non-compliance. The situation raises concerns about the broader implications of these enforcement measures on individuals engaged in various sectors within the country.

Mohammad Boroughani Receives Five-Year Prison Term and Ten Years Exile

The Tehran Revolutionary Court has issued a verdict, sentencing Mohammad Boroughani, a detainee from the 2022 nationwide protests, to five years in prison and ten years of mandatory residence in Naeen County, situated in Isfahan province, as reported by Shargh Newspaper.

Initially facing a death sentence on charges of “enmity against God (Moharebeh) through the use of a cold weapon, altercation with police officers, and setting fire to the Pakdasht governorate building,” Boroughani’s fate took a different turn. The Supreme Court overturned the initial verdict, leading to a retrial in another court branch.

Currently held in Qezel Hesar Prison in Karaj, Boroughani was apprehended during the 2022 protest in Pakdasht, Tehran Province.

Update on Amir-Nasr Azadani’s Current Situation in Dastgerd Prison

Amir-Nasr Azadani, a former soccer player involved in the legal case “Khaneh e Isfahan (Isfahan House),” is presently incarcerated in Dastgerd Prison, Isfahan, serving a sixteen-year sentence imposed by the Isfahan Revolutionary Court.

A source close to Azadani’s family informed HRANA that in January 2023, he received five years for “membership in illegal groups to act against national security,” five years for “assembly and collusion against national security,” and sixteen years for “enmity against God (Moharebeh).” In May of the same year, the Supreme Court accepted his retrial plea, leading to the review of his case by another branch court.

“In the review, the Isfahan Revolutionary Court acquitted him of the first two charges, yet upheld his 16-year prison term for Moharebeh,” the source clarified.

Azadani’s lawyer has submitted a request for a retrial, and the case is currently pending before the Supreme Court.

Amid nationwide protests on November 17, 2022, Azadani was arrested by security forces in connection to the “Khaneh e Isfahan” case. Notably, three other defendants in the same case, Saleh Mir Hashemi (36), Majid Kazemi (30), and Saeed Yaghoubi (37), were executed on May 19, 2023, for charges of enmity against God (Moharebeh).

Protest Singer Toomaj Salehi Released on Bail

In a significant development, influential protest rapper Toomaj Salehi was granted bail on November 18 from Dastgerd Prison in Isfahan, after the Supreme Court overturned his verdict.

Amir Raisian, Salehi’s lawyer, informed Shargh News that upon appeal, Branch 39 of the Supreme Court reviewed Salehi’s case, identified defects in the indictment, and subsequently annulled the previous verdict. Consequently, the case was returned to the Isfahan Revolutionary Court.
According to Raisian, Salehi, benefiting from a general pardon, should have been released without the need for bail.

In July of this year, Salehi received a six-year and three-month sentence, along with a travel ban, a prohibition on music production, and mandatory participation in behavior management and knowledge skills courses for two years.

In late October 2022, Salehi was detained by security forces during nationwide protests. Despite official media claims of his attempt to leave the country illegally, individuals close to Salehi contested this narrative.

It is noteworthy that the protest singer has a prior conviction in a separate legal case. On January 12, 2022, he was sentenced to a six-month prison term and fined, with the imprisonment suspended for one year.