Less than two weeks after a group of international artists joined Freemuse in a campaign for the release of the Iranian singer Arya Aramnejad, who was given 91 days prison sentence, he was able to leave the prison. Allegedly, according to Freemuse’s sources, he was released due to socalled “international reactions”.
In 2012, Aramnejad was given a one year prison sentence, which was later changed to 91 days, but eventually resulted in just a few weeks’ imprisonment.
The singer is relieved but can still not perform or release his music without restrictions.
Freemuse appeals to the Iranian government to abolish pre-censorship legislations and non-transparent restrictions of musicians and to respect the international conventions.
Arya Aramnejad posted a note on his Facebook wall on 26 January 2013 at 11am, saying: “When I took the first breath of my lungs out of prison, I felt full of pride living in my land … Now, after four years I am free and without a collateral file! Returned home an hour ago.”
Below: Information about the (now closed) Freemuse campaign
Freemuse calls for unconditional release of the Iranian singer Arya Aramnejad
In a letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Freemuse calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Arya Aramnejad, a famous singer who has been imprisoned since 8 November 2011 under harsh and inhumane conditions.
In the letter Freemuse reminds the Iranian leaders that Iran is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees citizens the right to ”freedom of expression […] either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice express themselves.”
The letter equally reminds the Iranian government that United Nations requires governments to apply minimum rules for treatment of prisoners. This includes access to legal counsel and freedom from cruel treatment and punishment.
Mistreated in prison Freemuse has learned that Arya Aramnejad is not being represented by any lawyer and that he several times has been mistreated in the prison. Arya Aramnjead is 28 years old and was born in Babol, a small town in North Iran. In an article the exiled Iranian writer Sepideh Jodeyri compared him to Victor Jara, the revolutionary singer who was brutally killed in Chile after the coup in 1971.
Jodeyri quoted one of Arya Aramnejad’s songs ‘YeK rooze khub’ (‘A fine day’), which he performed during the spring protests in Iran 2010:
“On my lips there is a lock And in my throat there is an explosion No one knows how my heart feels these days Under the curtains of censorship in this suffocating city I still believe the spring season is ahead…”
Inhumane conditions Arya Aramnejad was arrested the first time on 15 February 2010. After having spent 50 days in solitary confinement, he was convicted and sentenced to nine month in prison – a nightmarish experience, according to a statement he made in court.
The intelligence ministry officers threatened to shoot Arya, the prison guards threatened to hang him. He was kept in a 1.5 x 2 meter cell with no sanitary facilities. His skin became festered with infectious blisters as a lack of hygiene facilities in his cell. He was denied his medicines for his heart condition.
After his release he continued his struggle for freedom, but was arrested again on 8 November 2011 and is now kept in the same prison as before – under the same inhumane conditions.
Arya Aramnejad wants fair justice and has already in his famous song explained that he does not seek revenge:
“Time will come when you and I will not be in prison And the answer to a simple question will not be with bullets and blood And that no one will be crushed in public for his beliefs And no one’s head will hang from the rope and scaffoldings”
to His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of The Islamic Republic of Iran, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, and Head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Freemuse’s appeal letter to Iran’s authorities
On GoPetition.com, more than 2,000 persons have signed this petition: