A summons order issued on 27 May 2016 by Iranian authorities requires musicians Mehdi Rajabian, Yousef Emadi and filmmaker Hossein Rajabian to turn themselves in to prison by 31 May 2016 to serve out their three-year sentences. The summons orders them to report to the Office of the Prosecutor at Tehran’s Evin Prison.
“Art is not a crime. Mehdi Rajabian, Hossein Rajabian and Yousef Emadi should never have been sentenced in the first place. Summoning them to prison is a grave violation of their and every Iranians’ right to artistic freedom. We call on the Iranian authorities to immediately drop the charges and impending imprisonment and to halt the crackdown on artists in Iran.” Ole Reitov, Freemuse Executive Director said.
The three artists were sentenced in late February 2016 to three years in prison, three years probation and a 200 million rial (about $6,600 USD) fine after appealing their original May 2015 sentence of six years in prison and a 200 million toman (about $66,650 USD) fine. They are charged with “insulting the sacred” and “propaganda against the state” through the production and promotion of underground music.
In October 2013, the artists were arrested by the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization and held in solitary confinement for more than two months in Evin Prison and put under intense pressure to make false televised confessions. Mehdi Rajabian was reportedly subjected to repeated torture while in detention.
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.
» Amnesty International – 27 May 2016:
Iran: Further information: Iranian musicians and filmmaker summoned to jail
» Iran Human Rights – 27 May 2016:
Iran: Musicians and filmmaker summoned to serve prison sentences next week
» Freemuse.org – 29 February 2016:
Iran: Two musicians and a filmmaker sentenced
» Freemuse.org – 27 January 2016:
Iran: 165 Iranian artists and activists protest charges against two musicians and a filmmaker
» Freemuse.org – 15 January 2016:
Call on Iranian authorities to drop charges on two musicians and a filmmaker
» Freemuse.org – 14 December 2015:
Iran: Music distributors await appeal decision for six years in prison
» Freemuse.org – 17 December 2013:
Iran: Musician and music distributors arrested