Security forces arrested Arya Aramnejad for the first time in February 2010 and he spent 45 days in solitary confinement. He was later sentenced to six months imprisonment, a term he served from November 2011 until April 2012, when he was allowed out of prison for the Persian new year, Norouz.
The first court case issued against Arya Aramnejad was for the song ‘Ali Barkhiz’ (‘Ali Rise Up’, or ‘Wake Up, Ali’), which condemns the regime’s crackdown against the opposition during the presidential elections in 2009.
Allegedly a second court case was opened against the singer accusing him of acting against national security and spreading propaganda against the regime with the songs he had released on the Internet since 2010. Two of these songs are ‘Yek ruze khoob’ (‘A fine day’) and ‘Deltangi’ (‘Nostalgia’) – songs which express support of the Green Movement.
A friend of Aramnejad spoke to the British newspaper The Guardian on condition of anonymity and said: “Arya has been recently informed that he has been given a one-year jail sentence for his other songs released since 2010.”
No one Freemuse has communicated with seems to have any clear insight into what is going to happen next.
“The truth is that we have no hope for his case to be justly revised and we believe that authorities won’t even bother any longer to pretend that this sentence is legal,” wrote one of Freemuse’s sources in Iran.
After the text of the new judgement of a one-year prison sentence has been sent officially to him, he will be given a grace period of 20 days to file a protest against the judgement. Then the case will be sent to court for revision, and authorities will fix a date for responding to the letter of protest. Such cases are usually controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence who are also the ones who define responses of the first court and the court of revision as well as the date for passing the sentence.
Mistreatment in prison
Two court hearings were held, the first on 10 January 2012 and the second on 31 January 2012. In both instances, Arya Aramnejad was transported to the court with handcuffs on his wrist and chains on his feet, dressed in prison clothes.
Freemuse’s sources in Iran described that Arya Aramnejad was positioned, standing and in chains, in front of a judge, while a guard was watching him. The judge asked him to defend himself against the charges that he had been “acting against national security”. The judge didn’t explain in detail what this was supposed to mean and also didn’t read the public prosecutor’s indictment against him.
Lawyers are afraid
After having studied the report which the Ministry of Intelligence had written against him, he asked the judge to consider to give him the opportunity to defend himself in writing. This was granted, and in the following week, Arya Aramnejad wrote a defense which responded on all the issues in the case. In essence, he denied all charges of “acting against national security”, explaining his lyrics and the songs in detail.
The ‘Ali’ in ‘Ali Barkhiz’, for instance, has a double-meaning, because it could refer both to the first name of the Iranian supreme leader – calling upon him to wake up and see reality – or to Imam Ali, a cousin of the prophet Muhammad and revered among Shia Muslims as a symbol of justice, calling upon him to rise and uproot injustice.
No official text of the judgement had been published or shown to Arya Aramnejad at that time, but allegedly some references from the court had informed him about it. At the court hearing in January 2012 he had been told that the text of the judgement would be sent to him in the following days, and later it was confirmed to him that a judgement had been issued. But when he finally got to see the text, at the second court session, it turned out to be charging him of totally different issues than those issues the judge had asked him to defend himself in regard to.
He had been convicted for “propaganda against the state system” and was sentenced to imprisonment for one year which is the maximum sentence for this offense.
The Guardian – 18 April 2012:
‘Iranian singer Arya Aramnejad sentenced to a year in jail’
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