COPENHAGEN, February 29, 2016 (Freemuse):
Branch 54 of the Tehran Appeals Court has issued their final judgment on Mehdi Rajabian, Hossein Rajabian and Yousef Emadi, sentencing each of the three artists to three years in prison, three years probation and a 200 million toman (about USD 66,650) fine, reported the Human Rights Activists News Agency on 29 February 2016.
Freemuse and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, along with 14 other human rights organisations, on 15 January 2016 protested the 2013 imprisonment and 2015 sentencing of musicians Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi, and filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, and called on the head of the judiciary and other Iranian authorities to drop the charges against them. Further, 170 Iranian musicians, filmmakers, writers and activists signed and released a statement objecting to the artists’ treatments and called for dropping the charges.
“Freemuse is deeply concerned about the continuous persecution of artists in Iran and calls for the immediate reversal of this unfair judgment in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory,” Ole Reitov, Freemuse Executive Director, said.
The three artists have yet to be imprisoned, but it is suspected they will be taken into custody in the coming weeks before Nowruz (Iranian peoples New Year), which occurs on 20 March 2016, according to Freemuse sources.
Mehdi Rajabian, a musician and founder of BargMusic, an alternative music distributor in Iran, along with his filmmaker brother Hossein Rajabian and musician Emadi, appeared at Branch 54 of the Tehran Province Appeals Court earlier on 22 December 2015 to appeal a May 2015 decision sentencing all three artists to six years in prison for “insulting the sacred” and “propaganda against the state” through the production and promotion of underground music.
The three music distributors were arrested by Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization in October 2013 and held in solitary confinement for more than two months in Evin Prison’s Ward 2-A, run by the Guards’ Intelligence Organization and put under intense pressure to make false televised confessions.