LONDON: A Kurdish rapper imprisoned in Iran for supporting protesters is facing the death penalty, The Guardian reported on Friday.
Saman Yasin is one of thousands who could be executed as the regime responds brutally to demonstrations that broke out nationwide in September following the killing of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police.
The UN says at least 14,000 people have been arrested since the protests began, with hundreds killed or injured by security forces.
Yasin, a famous musician and artist in Iran, faces execution for “waging war against God” by posting anti-regime statements on social media.
The Hengaw Organization for Human Rights warned that high-profile individuals like Yasin could face disproportionate punishment in order to make an example of them to other young people, cowing protesters into submission.
Hengaw’s Soma Rostami told The Guardian: “We know the government easily kills people and directly sentences the detainees to death. Saman Yasin is in serious danger and we should be his voice.”
Another Iranian rap artist, Toomaj Salehi, has been tortured in detention, according to his family, after he released protest songs and footage emerged of him and his friends chanting anti-regime slogans in the city of Isfahan. His arrest has led to a significant backlash on social media.
One of his friends told The Guardian: “When we heard about his arrest, we were devastated but not defeated. We are currently trying to do what we can to carry on what he stood for and urge the international community’s leaders to hold the Islamic Republic accountable for their crimes against humanity, to release Toomaj and all Iranian people who are imprisoned and tortured on a daily basis, all because they seek freedom.
“We know they want to traumatize us even more and instil fear in us. What matters is that the Islamic Republic’s brutal regime is arresting critics and innocent civilians and violating their own laws,” she said.
“Even if the lawyers arrive at the courts on behalf of their families, they, too, are at risk of getting arrested.
“We have no information about his health, what he has been accused of, or what his condition his health is in, and we are seriously worried for his life.”
Javaid Rehman, the UN’s human rights special rapporteur for Iran, said on Wednesday: “Over the past six weeks, thousands of men, women and children — by some accounts over 14,000 persons — have been arrested, which includes human rights defenders, students, lawyers, journalists and civil society activists.
“In another most disturbing development, Iranian authorities have announced earlier this week that they will be holding public trials for over 1,000 arrested persons in Tehran and a similar number outside the capital.”
He added: “The charges against these persons will include charges … carrying the death penalty. In the absence of any domestic channels of accountability, I would stress the significance of the role and responsibility of the international community in addressing impunity for human right violations in Iran.”